Fires in Thatched Properties with Wood-Burning Stoves

Author(s): James L D Glockling

Since the 1990s, the number of fires occurring in thatch roofed buildings has risen significantly. And in the past decade, more than 500 thatch roofed buildings in England have been damaged or even destroyed by fire. Evidence suggests there is a connection between the rising numbers of fires and the increasing popularity of wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves. In fact, studies have shown that these types of stoves are more likely to cause fires in thatch roofs than any other form of heating, including traditional open fires. But how and why this occurs has long been a subject of contention. One theory was that heat transferred by conduction through the chimney stack to the thatch was the cause of most fires. But in the late 2000s, forensic investigators noted that many fires could not be explained by this ‘heat transfer’ theory. It was clear that more research was needed to understand better the threat posed by wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves to thatch roofs, and to find ways of reducing the risk of fire. In response, Historic England (Building Conservation and Research Team) and NFU Mutual Insurance commissioned the Fire Protection Association to carry out a two-year programme of research, including full-scale fire tests. This report describes the investigations carried out, presents the findings and recommends actions to mitigate risks.

Report Number:
Research Report
Standing Building Standing Structure


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Email: [email protected]