Importance of Proper Disposal of Ashes - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Importance of Proper Disposal of Ashes

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One week ago, the Lyon Fire charred five acres in Washoe Valley, burning two outbuildings and causing voluntary evacuations.

Back in January, one person died and nearly 3,200 acres and 29 structures burned in the Washoe Drive Fire.

Both fires were started by ashes that weren't disposed of properly.

"In some cases, if they're disposed of improperly in a field or in a yard," Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Marshal Amy Ray said. "Then, that fire can spread to other residences and throughout the neighborhood, which is very dangerous, as we've seen before."

Officials say these fires could have easily been prevented with just a few simple steps.

Yet, they continue to happen.

"People say 'I'm not going to be the one' or 'I'm not going to make that mistake,'" Reno Fire Department Marshal Dave Cochran said. "But, it's that complacency that we're trying to avoid by getting the word out there and educating people and bringing that awareness to the community."

Ashes should be stored in a fire-resistant container with a tight-fitting lid.

"I've seen several fires where people dispose of their ashes in their large green garbage cans or in a regular garbage can from the house," Ray said. "Then, those ashes heat up and melt the plastic and then, ultimately, it can catch the house on fire."

It's best to clean your fireplace, the morning after, at the earliest.

"You don't want to spill them on the floor while they're still burning," Cochran said.

It's also important to wear a pair of gloves and use a scoop, made out of metal.

Once the ashes are in the can, check for hot spots and put the lid on.

"We recommend using water," Ray said. "Once you put them in a proper container, put water in there and soak it and make sure that they're out."

"You've heard of a match or a careless cigarette causing a fire," Cochran said. "All you're doing is putting a bucket of those outside and waiting for the wind to take them away."

Once those steps are finished, put the can in a safe place where it will be protected from the wind.

"Place them on a noncombustible surface like a good solid deck," Cochran said. "Clear out any leaves or any combustible products and make sure that lid is on solid."

It's important to let the ashes sit for at least a week, especially with the dry conditions we're seeing.

Then, you should check for hot spots again before getting rid of the ashes for good.

Officials also want to remind you, open burning is not allowed right now.

Written by Paul Nelson
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