AS we move into the colder months, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding those living in thatched properties of the increase risk of fire.

There are thousands of beautiful and unique thatched properties across both Dorset and Wiltshire, all of which carry an increased risk of fire.

Thatch fires can be difficult to tackle as the thatch itself is designed to repel water, so the straw has to be stripped away to give firefighters access to the flames.

Research has shown that a major cause of fires in thatched properties is heat transfer from the chimney into the thatch, with then reaches its ignition temperature catching fire.

Station manager, Jason Rogers said: “Thatched properties are at greater risk of a fire developing due to the materials used in its construction. I would recommend that homeowners should take full advantage of any steps that can be taken to reduce these risks.”

In 2015, a family home was destroyed after a devastating fire ripped through an iconic west Dorset pub - The Clock Inn in Chideock.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is offering these top tips to anybody who lives in a property with a thatched roof:

  • Have the chimney inspected by a qualified chimney engineer
  • Have the chimney swept regularly by a qualified chimney sweep 
  • Fit a bird guard to deter birds from building nests in chimneys
  • Insulate the chimney flue to prevent the heat from transferring into the thatch layer.
  • Only burn seasoned wood
  • Make sure you have a smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including in the loft if you have one
  • If you have a spark arrestor fitted, clean it regularly. 
  • Restrict the use of bonfires near to your property.

For more information about how to stay safe in a thatched property, please visit or to see if you are eligible for a free 'Safe and Well' visit, call 0800 038 2323.