Did you know that burning embers from a fire can stay dormant for days, even weeks after the fire has been extinguished? If oxygen is introduced, this debris can easily flare back-up causing a small fire or worse. For this reason, it is important to know how to safely dispose of the leftover ashes. Below we examine some proper ways to handle ash debris as well as important hazards to avoid.
Here are some DO’s and DON’Ts for the safe disposal of ashes
Let ashes cool completely before transferring them to an ash bucket. You may want to use long gloves that will protect your hands and arms from hot embers along with a shovel designed specifically for the job. Water is your friend at this point, mix in some until the ashes turn clumpy.
Always place ashes in a non-combustible container with a seal-able lid. Metal containers are the best but should also include a metal lid
Store the ash bucket away from the home on metal, concrete or another non-combustible surface.
Wait at least four days before dumping the ashes. Ashes should be dumped in a safe space away from wooded areas.
Use paper bags, plastic containers or cardboard boxes to store the ash. They can melt and provide little defense against the hot embers.
Clean your fireplace completely of the ash. Leave about a 1-2 inch insulated bed of ash to help the next batch of firewood burn.
Vacuum ash up from your fireplace. This job is best left for the professionals. Still hot embers stored in this small appliance can be a huge safety hazard while also ruining your vacuum.
Store the ash bucket on a wood deck, near trees and brush or inside the garage. These materials are easy to catch afire and spread.