Several times a year we respond to fires that are caused by improper disposal of hot coals or ashes from fireplaces, grills, or mobile fireplaces designed for use on decks or patios.
It's a hard-learned fact that coals and ashes from fires can remain hot enough to start a fire many hours or even days after you think the fire is out. The exact amount of time necessary for complete extinguishment and cooling depends on many factors such as how hot the fire was, what was burning, and how much unburned fuel remains. Our simple recommendation is to treat all ashes and coals as hot, even when you think they had time enough to cool.
(PHOTO: Plastic container burned by hot ashes)
Proper Disposal of Hot Ashes and Coals
If possible, allow ashes and coals to cool in the area where you had the fire for several days. The fireplace or grill is designed to contain the heat safely.
When it's time to dispose of the ashes, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down.
Keep the container outside your home and away from any combustibles until the refuse is hauled away.
Avoid placing hot coals in galvanized containers as this metal can release noxious fumes.