Dispose of Ashes Properly to Prevent Wildfires - Use an Ash Can
Improper ash disposal causes thousands of fires every year, including the Washoe Drive Fire in 2012. With continued use of wood burning fireplaces and stoves, along with an increasing use of outdoor fire pits, the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) is providing ash cans at no charge to Washoe County residents. Residents can stop by any Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Station, or the District’s Administrative office at 1001 E. 9th Street, Building D while supplies last and limited to one ash can per household. Citizens can also purchase ash cans at local retailers. ***UPDATE: TMFPD IS NOW OUT OF STOCK OF ASH CANS FOR THE SEASON, AND WILL RESUME THE PROGRAM LATER IN 2019***
“As cold temperatures begin to take hold in Washoe County, it is important that our residents take prudent fire prevention measures when heating their homes, to include disposing ashes properly using an ash can,” said Fire Chief Charles Moore. Even after several days, a pile of ashes can hold enough heat to reignite and start a fire. Three days is the minimum recommended cooling period for ashes. Extra care should be used in the storage and final disposal. TMFPD produced a short video to learn more on ash disposal using an ash can.
When disposing of ashes, use the following procedure:
- All ashes should be stored in a fire-resistant metal container. Never store ashes in a cardboard box or plastic bag.
- Make sure there are no hot spots left in the ashes. This is done by soaking them in water and stirring.
- Wet down the ashes and any wood pieces in the can. Use enough water to saturate the materials in the bucket so they are thoroughly wet.
- Place the lid on the can and allow the ashes to sit for at least three days.
- The metal container should be placed on a non- combustible surface, and away from anything flammable. It should not be placed next to a firewood pile, in the garage, or under a wood deck or porch.
- After sitting for at least three days in the metal container, cautiously check the exterior of the can to ensure it is cool to the touch.
- Ashes can then be disposed of in the trash or used as compost in your garden.
As a safety precaution keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a fireplace, wood stove, or any other heating appliance, and create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires. It is important to make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying, and never leave a fire unattended, particularly when children are present.
Ash cans can also be used to store rags that have been used for painting, varnishing or staining and for the disposal of charcoal briquettes that have been used in a barbecue.
Please note: If fire/rescue crews are on an emergency response, there will not be personnel that will respond to ash can requests at the station. We ask that residents return at a later time. Or, residents can come to the Fire District’s Administrative office at 1001 E. 9th Street, Building D.