Bonfire & fireworks displays in Northumberland 2013

also known as: Bonfires, Fireworks.

Stay safe this November by attending one of the organised firework and bonfire display in Northumberland and surrounding area as it is considerably safer than organising your own display

Organised firework displays in Northumberland & surrounding areas

Stay safe this November by attending one of the organised firework and bonfire display rather than organising your own

If you are organising a display and wish to be included on our list then please email communitysafety@northumberland.gov.uk

Firework safety code & the law

Fireworks are explosives and burn at high temperatures, so they need careful handling and storage. Find out about the firework safety code and about their use.

Download the Fire Work Code here.

Figures have shown that more children than adults get hurt by fireworks. If you are thinking of using fireworks as part of your celebrations, you should follow the steps listed below.

Before your firework display - preparation is key to enjoying fireworks safely so:

  • Don’t buy fireworks from anywhere except one of the 53 registered sellers.
  • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or with a CE mark – this shows that the firework meets British or European safety standards (a registered seller will know this).
  • Follow the instructions on each firework – read them in daylight or by torchlight, never by a naked flame.
  • Bring a closed metal box to store the fireworks – take them out one at a time.
  • Prepare a bucket of water – to cool sparklers and put out any small fires.
  • Wear eye protection and gloves.

Lighting fireworks- follow these simple guidelines to stay safe:

  • Only one person should be responsible for letting off fireworks.
  • Don’t drink alcohol if you are setting off fireworks.
  • Light fireworks at arm’s length, using a taper.
  • Make sure everyone stands well back.
  • Never go back to a firework that has been lit – even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode.

Sparklers - sparklers are fun, but always:

  • Supervise children with sparklers and never give them to a child under five.
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
  • Put used sparklers hot end down into a bucket of sand or water.

Other tips on the night- follow these other rules for a safe night:

  • Keep pets indoors – most animals get very scared by the lights and noise from fireworks.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  • Never throw spent fireworks on a bonfire.
  • Take care around bonfires – all clothes, even those labeled ‘low flammability’ - can catch fire.

There are laws about when fireworks can be sold, and to who -as well as the times fireworks can be set off.

If you are under 18, you can't:

  • buy the types of fireworks which can be sold only to adults
  • have fireworks in public places

If you do, the police can give you an on-the-spot fine of £80.

It is against the law to:

  • set off or throw fireworks in the street or other public place
  • set off fireworks between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am, except during certain celebrations- between midnight and 7:00am on Bonfire Night, 1:00am and New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year

If found guilty by the courts, you could be fined up to £5,000 and can be imprisoned for up to three months.

You face arrest, charge and a criminal record or an £80 on the spot fine.

Fireworks for private use and from a registered seller can only be sold:

  • between 15 October and 10 November – around Bonfire Night
  • between 26 December and 31 December – for New Year’s Eve
  • 3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year

For the rest of the year, you will only be able to buy fireworks from shops that are licensed to supply them.

If you think a shop is unregistered, or selling fireworks when they shouldn’t, contact your council’s Trading Standards Officer. Your council will also have a list of registered sellers.

Animals and pets hate bangs and flashes and get very frightened on fireworks night. So keep all your pets indoors and close all the curtains to make things calmer. Remember, it's not just your own fireworks that cause them to be scared, so you may need to have your pets indoors on several nights when other displays are taking place.

It is against the law to cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animal. The penalty if found guilty is either imprisonment up to 51 weeks, a fine of up to £20,000, or both.

A large percentage of people drink alcohol at fireworks parties in back gardens. This increases the risk of injury and makes adults less able to supervise children properly during the display.

Please follow these tips to ensure everyone has a safe night:

  • never drink alcohol if you are setting off fireworks or attending a bonfire
  • nominate people who are not drinking alcohol to take charge of late-night fireworks displays
  • keep guests who are drinking alcohol well away from fireworks and the bonfire
  • consider limiting the availability of alcohol until after the fireworks display
  • do not carry fireworks in your pocket to street parties or celebrations

Remember: alcohol and fireworks don't mix

Loose clothing (like tracksuits) can very easily catch alight and should never be worn near any fire. Long dangly scarves can be risky too.

If anyone's clothing does catch fire, follow the rule:

  • STOP don't run
  • DROP to the ground
  • ROLLOVER to put out the flame

Bonfire safety code & the law

If you are having a bonfire to celebrate the November 5, take care! Follow the simple tips below to make sure you, and others, are safe and acting lawfully.

Fire can spread easily, so Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service are urging people to get in touch if they are planning to have a bonfire on November 5.

If you have a bonfire organised we can provide information on the following:

  • how to conduct risk assessments for events
  • site suitability
  • bonfire construction
  • safety procedures
  • how to inform people about the event
  • who to contact
  • insurance
  • fire safety
  • only build your bonfire on the 5th November
  • contact Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service (NFRS) on 01670 627599 to confirm your bonfire location
  • site the bonfire at least 18 meters from buildings or trees
  • do not build beside electricity or telephone lines
  • have enough helpers and equipment
  • height must be less than 3 meters and half the width of the base
  • only burn wood, paper/cardboard and foliage
  • build to collapse inwards as it burns
  • check for animals and children before lighting
  • keep spectators a distance of at least 6m away
  • ensure fire is out once the bonfire is over
  • inform NFRS (01670 627599) when it is out
  • check the fire again later

Once the bonfire is lit, make sure you:

  • keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby - in case of emergencies
  • don’t leave the bonfire unattended
  • keep children and pets away from the bonfire
  • don’t throw any fireworks into the fire
  • don’t burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint - many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode, causing injury
  • once the bonfire has died down, spray the embers with water to stop it reigniting
  • Burning domestic waste is an offence as it is likely to cause pollution or harm to human health.
  • Burning plastic, rubber or painted materials creates poisonous fumes and can have damaging health effects for people who have asthmatic or heart conditions.
  • This is covered under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
  • Under the Highways Act 1980, anyone lighting a fire and allowing smoke to drift across a road faces a fine if it endangers traffic.
  • If you see this happening, call the police on 101.

If you are aware of a bonfire being built on public land, you should report it to Northumberland County Council.

All bonfires built on public land will be dismantled and removed, unless it is on a designated site and has had a full risk assessment.

To report please:

Do you want to plan a bonfire or fireworks event?

Anyone who wants to hold a bonfire, whether it is in their own back garden or as a community event, is being asked to register their contact details with the Fire and Rescue Service. This is part of the Safe Bonfire scheme which aims to ensure a safer November 5 for communities right across Northumberland.

During October and November, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service is called to numerous bonfires across the county. Each time a fire engine is called to a bonfire it prevents it being available for another emergency.

By creating a database of approved ‘safe’ bonfires Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service can hopefully reduce the number of calls and irresponsible bonfires set up in our local communities. This means that fire engines will be available to attend genuine emergencies on what is traditionally the busiest night of the year.

Remember if you are planning on holding a bonfire then contact Fire Control on or before the 5 November:

Please provide us with:

  • your full name
  • mobile number
  • location of bonfire
  • time you will start

Have a look at our ‘Having Your Own Firework Display’ safety and tips information here.

The Safe Bonfire scheme is supported by Northumberland County Council who is reminding residents that it is not permitted to build a bonfire on land such as public parks or on sports fields.

Any bonfires built on these areas will be removed, as will any unauthorised bonfires or bonfires built before 5 November.

The Safe Bonfire scheme only applies to bonfires planned for Guy Fawkes night itself.

Contact us

For further advice on bonfire safety contact Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service on:

To report accumulations of waste on public land contact Northumberland County Council's contact center on: