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Firefighters Warn Residents to Safely Dispose of Fireplace Ashes

Local Vegetation Fire Serves as a Reminder That Discarded Fireplace Ashes Can Cause Fires

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Firefighters from Placerville extinguish a fire surrounding an old burn pile where fireplace ashes were discarded.

Placerville, CA, October 29, 2022 — Firefighters from Placerville's Engine 25 extinguished a small spreading vegetation fire just before 4:30 pm Saturday near Baker Street and Bryan Way. The fire had ignited and spread after 3-day old fireplace ashes were discarded today in an area the property owner commonly used for debris burn piles. Neighbors reported the fire prompting the fire engine response which also included a CAL FIRE engine from Amador - El Dorado Unit. Fortunately in this situation, the fire was small and did not damage any more than a small amount of dry vegetation adjacent to the burn pile area.

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Firefighters extinguish a fire surrounding an old burn pile where fireplace ashes were discarded.

Although this situation was easily handled, firefighters regularly see much worse fires caused by improperly discarded fireplace ashes. In recent years, local firefighters have seen fires on decks, below decks, against homes, in garbage cans, fires inside homes and fires like the situation above — all attributed to discarded fireplace ashes. These fires often range in severity but have badly damaged homes and have caused complete loss of homes and their contents in some instances. These fires are preventable if care and concern is taken when handling fireplace ashes. Many local residents rely on fireplaces for home heating or even to add ambiance to a chilly evening. We encourage local residents to continue to this while recognizing the importance of taking appropriate safety measures.


When discarding fireplace ashes, firefighters ask residents to follow these safe practices:


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  • Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from the home and any other buildings or flammable materials such as wood piles.
    • Ashes should never be stored inside of a building. 
    • Never use paper or plastic bags or cardboard or plastic boxes to store ashes. 
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Ashes can take 4-7 days to cool completely. 
  • Never empty the ashes directly into a trash can.
  • Pour water on the ashes.


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