Although perhaps less of a problem during the winter months due to the colder, damper conditions, skip fires can happen at any time of the year. However, during long hot dry spells in summer, they can easily get out out of control very quickly. Since it’s a no-brainer that hot weather will dry any flammable material quickly (e.g. fence panels), it’s easy to understand that long, sunny days are the perfect recipe for skip fires.

Since it’s particularly important to be extra cautious of the dangers that dry weather can cause when you hire a skip in London from Metro Waste, we thought we’d give you a few tips on how to lessen the chances of a fire occurring. With this in mind, what precautions should you be taking once your skip is delivered to prevent the risk of one breaking out in your skip?

Whilst they don’t happen that often, there are generally 2 main scenarios that can cause this to happen:

  1. Deliberate arson
  2. Accidentally due to carelessness

Regardless of the cause, it can be a costly experience if the fire isn’t put out immediately. Because of this, we’ve put together this brief post highlighting a few basic precautions you can take to minimise the risk of a fire in your skip.

The dos

If the skip is placed on your own piece of land such as a driveway, garden or building site, it’s really important to make sure that it’s at a safe distance from any property. If, for whatever reason, a fire did break out, having the skip far enough away from the nearest piece of property is essential to prevent the heat and flames from catching anything flammable alight.

Fire Brigade access

If a fire starts, it’s imperative that the Emergency Services have fast and easy access to the location of your skip and aren’t hampered by any obstacles that may get in their way.


If you’ve placed things in the skip that can easily catch fire, it’s worth considering taking a few basic precautions when the weather is exceptionally hot and dry. This can especially true if you’ve had a garden clearance and the skip is full of old wood, dried bags of grass, twigs/branches, etc. Things like this will act as tinder if they catch fire and will quickly spread to other items in the skip such as old kitchen units or furniture. As such, covering the skip with tarpaulin can help prevent a fire starting in the first place, especially if you’re not around.

It’s also a good idea to avoid smoking or having naked flames nearby when your skip has flammable material in it. If you can, make sure you have quick access to plenty of water e.g. having a hosepipe connected to an outside water tap just in case the worst happens. At the very least, try an ensure that you have several buckets or a filled water butt with a couple of empty buckets on standby. It’s also worth mentioning that if your skip is on the road and there’s a fire, the searing heat will cause the bottom of the skip to quickly to melt the tarmac on the road. Rest assured, your local council will take a dim view of this and you could even end up shouldering the cost of repairs and you may even be prosecuted.

The don’ts

This is a big no-no – Never, under any circumstances use your skip to burn any of the waste you’re disposing of. Whilst it may be tempting to burn your rubbish to reduce the size of the materials in your skip, we (and all other skip companies) don’t allow this. Aside from the horrible air pollution caused by the smoke, it damages the skip and is also a huge fire hazard. If the skip has been damaged by a fire we may ask you to pay for a replacement, and they’re not cheap! Instead, break your rubbish up into smaller bits before you dispose of it inside the skip. If you do this, you can also avoid overloading the skip, making it harder to cover (plus the fact that we won’t take it away if it’s overloaded).

Avoid trees and bushes

As we alluded to in the “dos” above, the location of your skip is important. A large fire radiates heat a fair distance so it’s important to keep this in mind. This applies upwards as well as sideways; in other words, you should avoid placing your skip under a tree or next to any large bushes. In hot, dry weather this is a real risk. Whilst you may take your own precautions to stop something like this happening, there is still the risk of a passerby throwing a cigarette butt in the skip.

We hope this bite-sized post has given you a few pointers to help prevent a fire breaking out in your skip and if you have any other questions or concerns that we haven’t mentioned, feel free to get in touch for free, expert advice from Metro Waste.

Article image by Slinkierbus268Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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