FEBRUARY 26, 2014

Help prevent wildfires by properly disposing of your hot ashes

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SPRINGERVILLE – The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests reminds homeowners to be extra careful this winter/spring when disposing of hot ashes. Many homeowners throughout the White Mountains use fireplaces, wood stoves or pellet stoves to heat their homes.  Improper ash disposal has become a common cause of many wildfires throughout the country and can destroy homes, outbuildings and valuable resources. 

This winter the White Mountains have been unseasonably warm and dry. This trend has created low fuel moistures which make fuels more combustible. High winds can spread dumped hot coals and start a wildfire. Wood ashes can retain enough heat to ignite combustible materials for several days.

Always store your ashes in a metal container with a lid that can be tightly closed. After dumping ashes into the container, douse them with water. Close the container and place it outside your home and away from combustible materials. Wait several days before disposing of your ashes to make sure they are completely cooled. Once the ash is completely cooled, place it in a pile and prepare your container for the next load.

Here are some tips on what NOT TO DO:
DO NOT: Place hot ashes in a dumpster where there may be combustible materials.
DO NOT: Dispose of ashes in paper, plastic or cardboard containers.
DO NOT: Assume the ashes are cold and pour them over the ground.
DO NOT: Store you metal container in any location where heat may transfer to nearby flammable items.

Teach other family members and any visitors these important rules about hot ash disposal. Abiding by these rules can keep your family, homes and forests safe.

Be fire safe and show your commitment to wildfire prevention by going online and taking Smokey’s pledge.