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Clearance to combustibles at rear


On keeping firewood dry from driving rain

So you’ve built a beautiful south-facing log store, stocked it with cut timber, watched the exposed surfaces grey and the end-grain split over the summer, then winter arrived and the heavens opened and the waters rose and the wind drove the rain straight onto your logs.

So what can you do?

Instructions below (health and safety information in brackets – please read carefully).

Get a cheap fence panel (if in any doubt, consult a fencing specialist. If handling yourself, wear thick gloves to protect against splinters. Wear protective boots when carrying heavy or unwieldy objects. It may take up to four people to safely carry your fence panel. Make sure you take advice from your responsible retailer.)

Screw it on to your log store covering the exposed ends of the logs. Use the frame of the log store for the fixing points. The panel should block the rain but still allow wind to penetrate. Wind is crucial in the drying of firewood. (Be careful. Screws are sharp! Only use electrical tools if you have had appropriate training. If in any doubt, employ a professional builder, or enrol on a suitable competency course provider. A structural surveyor should be consulted if you have any doubts concerning the structural integrity of your temporary rain-blocking structure.)

In the event of flooding, this arrangement will hopefully also prevent your logs from floating away. (In the event of flooding, do not attempt to interfere personally. Call a flood prevention officer or the Environment Agency. Do not attempt to control water yourself. It is not a toy! You can drown in less than an inch of water. New regulations restricting the use of water at depths of more than 5mm will be coming into force in 2018.)

In the event of flooding to depths of 1500mm or more, simply detach your log store from the wall of your house or garden (it may be advisable to have loosened any submerged screw or fixings prior to total immersion) and allow to float. The fence panel should be uppermost, providing you with a safe platform on which to relax while you await rescue. Don’t forget to bring some healthy snacks and a supply of drinking water. Flood water may be contaminated. (Remember if using a ladder to mount your raft to observe working at height directives.)

Bear in mind that by this time, your firewood will be completely saturated and will require complete drying after the flood has abated before it is useable in your stove.