Ashes, ashes, we all can be safer

The holidays are here, and there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll be hosting some kind of get together at your home – friends, co-workers, family.  Before your party, you may want to tidy up your fireplace before the guests arrive to remove those ugly ash piles that can build up in the space.

Maybe there’s no party, and you just need to clean away the ash because it’s piled too high after your early season fires.

Whatever the reason, disposing of ash from your fireplace in a proper way is often overlooked if considered at all by homeowners.

Don’t think proper ash disposal is something to be concerned about?

We hope recent stories like a Reno, Nev., wildfire started by improperly disposed ashes or a garbage truck fire linked to hot ashes in Salem, Ore., encourage you to change your tune.

In some cases, ash and embers that have been allowed to cool even for as long as 24 hours may not be completely extinguished. No one should take for granted that ashes are ever safe to move. Examine the ash you plan to clean up for any signs that it may still be generating even the faintest heat or smoke before removal. Even smarter? Always treat ashes like they’re hot.

To remove any doubt, move ashes into a metal container and submerge them in water before disposing of them in your waste bag or can.

The fire department captain quoted in that garbage truck fire story out of Salem said, “You can pretty much count on every year (there being) several house fires, deck fires, caused from ashes.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could count on no fires being caused by ashes, because people took a few extra minutes to dispose of fireplace ashes safely?

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