Law on bonfires

06/22/2009 - 09:27

Not sure if I should post this here or legal. Can some one please clarify the law legal or unwritten on having bonfires from June until the end of summer and your obligation to clean your land. As we have been told we must not burn after cleaning the land after the 1st June unless it rains or we burn it in the dry river.



Round here, (Lucca Province) there doesn't seem to be any regulation on Bonfires/grass cutting burning. Everyone including me burns they're waste vegetation(only the other day) be it grass, branches, whatever at the drop of a hat. Sometimes I think we're surrounded by pyromaniacs.You may wish to check with your local Comune as there may be a local by-law on the subject, or ask a trusted neighbour; or look out for smoke on the horizon and investigate.........BUT always remember NOT to leave FIRES UNATTENDED as all areas are prone to wild fires ( we lost most of our mountainside to one last year). I always have a bucket or hose nearby in case they get out of hand. Locals and Fire Brigade take a very dim view of un-controlled fires.

Bonfires, called 'falò' are often forbidden in many areas from June to September. Especially where there is the distinct possibility of forest or  agricultural land fires. Some caused by auto-combustion, some by arsonists and others (the largest number I believe) caused by sparks from bonfires.In the part of the Alps where I live, the farmers do not light any fires in the heat of the summer, when there is a breeze or a wind or when the agricultural or forest 'sterpi' (twigs etc.) could create sparks that can so easily start fires that can burn entire villages on the mountainsides. The Commune of Lecco at the bottom of Lake Como has just announced strict rules about barbeques and bonfires in the you can see the fines are going to be quite stiff. The Guardia Forestale and the Vigili da Fuoco have  a dreadful job trying to put out some of these fires, as often the nearby streams and rivers ar almost dry when  'the snow melt' is finished, and for them, finding sufficient water nearby to scoop up by helicopter is thier biggest headeache.Laws and 'local' Acts should be known by the Guardia Forestale, Protezione Civile, Vigili del Fuoco and the Comune where you live.

 Its very probably true.Dont ignore it! - if you have a bonfir and it gets out of hand, you will have a huge fine and have to pay the neighbours for damage caused.  The forestale will also prosecute you.  here in Sicily you have a legal obligation to clear your land of possible fire hazards, certainly in the summer - and if you decide to burn it you should only do it when it rains.  Its not so much the fire, but the sparks and floating cinders that cause fires.  If you have doubts call the forestale and ask them - they are generally very helpful as long as you dont start chopping down their trees.

thanks for a post that makes sense .... also to carol b...each year in Italy millions of wild animals are killed let alone a few humans... plus firefighters... in L'Aquila a canadair went down ... killing the the two sane comments with sound advice need a thank you... even if neighbours do it when its been dry for ages... then allow them their Italy its becoming more and more of an obligation upon land owners to maintain their land to avoid fire risks... which in essence means cutting all wild growth down...  and it does not mean burning it...  when there is a high fire risk...even in the UK ... on farms we were not allowed to burn straw as we used to in the old days...  setting fire to most everything around and allowing the fire service to have a practice run brother is a volunteer fire man in Australia... even more prone than here ... and spends much of his early summer months with tractor and mower helping neighbours build breaks around their properties.... and that's what land owners here need to do... keep everything short....   ok if you have woodland... keep the undergrowth down around the trees... ...hegges... keep the growth up to them down...  wild areas for wild life make a fire break around...  it all requires work.. but its worth doing

Thanks Ram I was not thinking of having a bondfire my self but the person i employed to clean my land. Half my land is steeper than 45deg and i have not managed to get up there so I employed a local to clean and burn, the fact that he is much older than me and climbs up like a mountain goat does not bother me as i think I am helping support a local in need. I have seen fires here and it is very frightening seeing themm all around and how quick they can get hold. If I burn I take it down to the dry river bed where I am told it is safe.

John, your brother is one of those anonymous heroes who save many lives through his constant work. We have lived in Australia for 24 years and bushfires are big tragedies there.Everyone should be very careful with fires, particularly during the summer. It is always better to check, even with the local "vigili" to see what is allowed and under which conditions. They are the experts and they will be glad to give advice.This way, we could avoid many tragedies although most fires that go out of control are caused by arsonists. And then, these are very sick people.... 

In our village there is a rule that you can have bonfires between 7am and 10am but not on Sundays and holidays. Who enforces it I do not now as I have never had a fire since we took down three pine trees and had a fire for 3 days to burn all the brash. It was then that a neighbour told us about the rule.

I cannot understand why anyone would be foolish enough to light a fire in the heat of summer especailly in areas surrounded by woods and 'abandoned land '  like our place. Its a huge risk to the people living nearby and wildlife as well as to firefighters. Nevertheless during the hot weather in  May / June numerous fires could be seen around us in Abruzzo some running along the whole length of a field and left to burn for several days.If you have strimings you could pile them into a neat heap, water them and cover with plastic / old carpet etc. If possible in the shade. Then in the autumn it should have rotten down well enough to be composted. Or burnt if you must.Unfortunately its not possible to make a firebreak around our 3000sq metre of woodland as one side is bordered by the road and the other sides are on slopes to steep to access.I do find that even in August the undergrowth is lush and green. All in all it seems less likely to combust than all the grasslands around us 'abandoned' and now not cut or cultivated. I'm not sure what can be done about this? 

Its also, unfortunately, true to say that the majority of fires are not those that simply 'get out of hand' but are malicious in intent and nature.  Down here there are thousands of hectares lost to fires every summer, and you can pinpoint them with regards to comunes - some comunes have many more piromaniacs than others!   Since the law changed however thngs have changed.  people used to burn their land in the hope of building nice new villas on it.  Now, in Sicily, any notified fire brings an automatic 15 year no build period - to stop such speculation.  Having said all of that, the majority of fires are caused by people chucking cigarette ends out of their car windows.  Its not rained here for 7 weeks and the ground is tinder dry.  The real problems will start in August when the northern Italians come down for their holidays and chuck their fag ends around , light bbqs in the middle of the countryside and generally enjoy themselves!  

Quote:..."The real problems will start in August when the northern Italians come down for their holidays and chuck their fag ends around , light bbqs in the middle of the countryside and generally enjoy themselves!  "

It's not ALL 'Northern Italians' who don't have the sense they were born with with regard to 'fires in the countryside. We do have many areas full of the same fire hazards that you have farther down in Italy. Maybe not such 'tinder dry' areas, bur when a fire starts on a wooded,  and often inhabited, mountainside - the results can be just as devastating.

The main problem is (as I see it) the lack of programmes to raise public awarness of the 'do's and don't's when certain weather conditions prevail or where there is ample fuel to assist the spreading of a carelessly started fire.  Country people South AND North know this.  Alas, it's the majority of city dwellers, from anywhere, who need educating!!!