Use caution when disposing fireplace ashes

Last Updated: 10/29/2014

With the return of the cold weather we tend to see an increase in fires related to ash from fireplaces and outdoor fire pits that were improperly disposed of in refuse cans and the city’s open space.

These fires have caused both structure fires and have lead to fires starting inside of refuse trucks. Fires in refuse trucks usually cause major damage to the truck, endanger the driver and in many cases will require the replacement of the truck. The money used to replace these trucks comes directly from our customers who pay their solid waste utility bills. Structure fires and fires that occur in the city’s open space have the potential to cause severe damage to homes and threaten lives.

Help us prevent these unnecessary fires and keep your utility rates down by incorporating these common-sense disposal tips for fireplace and fire pit ash:

• Ensure there are no hot spots left in the ashes. This is done either by soaking them in water or letting them sit for a week (and then double checking them for hot spots). This also holds true for cigarette and charcoal grill ashes.

• Ashes should be stored in a fire-resistant (metal) container with a tight fitting cover (buckets made especially for storage of ashes are available at many area retailers). They should never be disposed of in a plastic garbage bag or can, a cardboard box, or paper grocery bag. The metal container should be stored away from anything that can burn and should not be placed next to the firewood pile, up against the garage, on or under a wooden deck, or under a porch.

With the help of our customers, we can work together to prevent these types of fires, which can help save lives, protect private property, protect public assets and keep our costs down, which helps to keep your utility rates low.