Bioethanol and gel fuels

Bioethanol effect fires have the same look and feel as ‘living’ flames but without the need for a chimney or flue.

Although they don’t emit smoke or ash, they’re still flammable and can cause serious harm.

Follow our advice to find out how you can keep yourself (and others) safe around them.

A wooden rectangular bioethanol fire with glass panels around the fire.

What to do if there’s a fire

If your bio-ethanol fire gets out of control and can’t be extinguished with the in-built mechanism in your fire, you must:

  1. Get out, closing doors behind you.
  2. Stay out
  3. Call the fire service (999). 

Do not use water to try and put out the flames, as this will spread them further.

If your clothing catches fire, use the ‘Stop, drop and roll’ method.

Stop, drop and roll

What to do if your clothes catch fire.

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How to safely use your bio-ethanol fire

How to safely use your bio-ethanol fire


Topping up your fuel is when most accidents happen.

That’s because bio-ethanol is extremely flammable, so never refill a lit or hot burner. You can be seriously injured if the fuel spits on your clothes or catches other flammable objects.  When the fuel has been used up, it’s crucial to wait at least 15 minutes for the fire to cool down before topping up.

Follow the instructions for your fire when filling the burner.  Wipe up any spills before relighting your fuel and always use an electric or manual taper to light your fire, at arm’s length. Always use the approved small containers to refuel as well as the appropriate fuel type.

Storing your fuel


Always store bio-ethanol in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and naked flames. We recommend storing it in garages and sheds, but make sure the fuel cannot be reached by children or pets. 

Extinguishing the flame


Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when putting out your fire. It’s best to wait until the fire has naturally died and all the fuel is used up. Always make sure the fire is out before leaving the room or going to sleep.



Keep your room well ventilated to stop carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. We recommend having a CO detector in the same room. For more information about carbon monoxide, take a look at our carbon monoxide advice.

Moving your fire


Some bio-ethanol fires are moveable. Never move your fire when the burner is lit. When moving your fire, make sure to use a safe location: away from flammable materials, children and pets.

Victim shares their story

This couple’s experience with a bio-ethanol fire shows the devastation they can cause if you don't follow safety measures.

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How they work

There are two types of fuel for flame-effect fires: bio-ethanol gel and bio-ethanol fuel. Both of these create the authentic flame look.

With bio-ethanol gel, you insert the can into the grate before setting it alight.

For bio-ethanol fires fuelled with a liquid, you pour this into the burner before lighting it.

The fuel burns for up to 4-5 hours unless extinguished.