Ash Cans

Thank you Commissioner Hartung (April 29, 2020)

Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue (TMFR) appreciates the support of Commissioner Vaughn Hartung for his leadership in supporting public funding for additional Ash Cans for our citizens throughout the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. The proper use of ash cans serve as an important tool when it comes to disposing ashes from wood burning fireplaces and stoves, and pile burns.

Since program inception, the Fire District has seen a decline in the number of fires related to improper disposal of fireplace ash and oily rags. The funding from Commissioner Hartung’s discretionary funds will purchase approximately 300 cans to be distributed to residents of unincorporated Washoe County.

Dispose of Ashes Properly to Prevent Wildfires - Use an Ash Can

Ash Can Program Application Request Form 

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, Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue is providing ash cans at no charge to unincorporated Washoe County residents. Residents can stop by the District’s Administrative office at 3663 Barron Way, Reno, NV while supplies last.  Fill out the application form above and call 775.326.6000.  TMFR ash cans are limited to one per household.  Citizens can also purchase ash cans at local retailers.  

“When 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.