Fires in Thatched Buildings – An Update


The Thatch Advice Centre’s aim is to bring you up to date information so that you can make informed decisions on thatch and the main causes of thatched fires is no exception.

We have previously been very interested in Burgoynes Forensic Investigator Mr Keith Benjamin’s work on the causes of thatched fires.  His recent work has further shown to support the view that it is embers rather than heat transfer though the structure.  This is the proof of what many of us, with strong interest in thatch fire safety, have been believing for years.

Please read the updated Burgoynes report to include 2014- 2015 and 2015 – 2016 burning seasons so that you understand “the correlation between thatch fires, solid fuel stoves with liners and low chimneys, together with a short time between lighting and discovery…. The majority of thatch fires associated with chimneys arise from ejected embers, often generated during lighting the fire, rather than defects in chimneys or heat conducted through the structure”

The effect of understanding the causes must surely then be reflected by:

  • Advice from other organisations being updated
  • Improved insurance cover
  • Potential building regulation updates.

This will perhaps alleviate some of the problems we are regularly notified of regarding the requirements of solid fuel system installations, chimney height, insurance requirements and building regulations, which are further complicated if the properties are Listed.

If all interested parties discuss these results and agree some common ground it will be excellent progress and we are happy to be part of it.

We look forward to the presentation of the results of the FPA’s research into ‘prevalent thatch fire causation’ with even greater interest and will keep you informed of progress.


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