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How to Minimise the Risk of a Skip Fire

A skip fire might be a relatively rare occurrence, but they’re a danger to you and the public, as well as a nuisance for local fire and rescue services. 

No matter what time of the year, the risk is always present, so it’s worth arming yourself with a little knowledge to help try and limit the chances of a fire. 

With this in mind, we wanted to put together a guide on how to minimise the risk of a skip fire so that you can avoid such dangers when you next hire your skip. 

Potential causes of skip fires

Fire requires three essential elements: fuel, oxygen and ignition – the latter of which is important when it comes to understanding the potential causes of skip fires. Some of the points on our list are seasonal causes, while others present a skip fire risk at any time of the year.

  • Arson – A real risk at any time, arson is the act of someone else deliberately starting a fire.
  • Cigarettes – Carelessness is often a cause of fire – including when people dispose of their lit cigarettes without thought. If you or someone else throws a cigarette end into a skip, there is a high risk of it starting a fire.
  • Fireworks – Though they’re often more of a risk in the autumn and winter months, fireworks can be risky at any time of the year. Whether they’re being incorrectly disposed of or a skip is being used irresponsibly, the materials and the incendiary nature of these items is a real hazard.
  • Curved glass or mirror – Whether you’re disposing of large pieces of glass and mirror or just shards, on an intensely sunny day any curved items could magnify the sun’s rays, creating the heat source required to start a fire.

Ways to minimise risk

Now that we’ve looked at some of the potential causes, let’s discuss what can be done to minimise the risk of fire in skips.

Skip placement – When hiring your skip, make sure you have it placed somewhere that would be easy for a fire crew to access. This ensures that should a fire break out, it can be quickly dealt with to reduce the risk it poses.

Prompt collection – Leaving your skip full on the road for longer than necessary is a risk for two reasons: firstly, it exposes it to more opportunistic arson attacks, and secondly, dry waste on a hot day stands more chance of igniting if a stray cigarette hits it or if a glass object intensifies direct sunlight. Always call your skip hire company when it’s ready to be collected to ensure waste isn’t left sitting around on your site.

Don’t put flammables in it – Flammable waste is a restricted item and shouldn’t be placed in a skip to begin with. One of the main reasons is to reduce the risk of fire, but it’s also often a hazardous liquid or item in and of itself, requiring special treatment.

Get an enclosed skip – Enclosed skips are a fantastic way of preventing arson attacks if you feel your area is vulnerable to such behaviour. It also prevents people from putting in other, potentially flammable material, too.


Fire is a risk everyone should always be on guard against, and now you can do your part when hiring a skip to minimise that risk. At Woodford Recycling, we also offer enclosed skips in specific sizes, helping you to further reduce the chances of a fire breaking out by securing your waste.

Book professional skip hire with prompt delivery and collection in Cambridge, Huntingdon and Peterborough today – call our team and let us know which skip size you need for your next domestic or commercial project.

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