Residents living in Inyo, Mono, and San Bernardino counties interested in a fire prevention program email

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Can Your Ashes

With the extremely cold weather, many people everywhere want to light up the fireplace or wood fueled heaters. But people who do this should take some precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of their loved ones.

With the cold wet weather, you may think that ashes that have cooled for several days are not a fire threat. They can be. The CAL FIRE San Bernardino Unit advises that when you remove ashes from your home, you first place them in a bucket with water to make sure that they are completely extinguished. At the very least, place the ashes in a metal trash can and cover with a metal lid. Plastic can melt if a fire ignites from the ashes allowing the flames to spread. You should also place the metal trash can away from the home, the eaves or any other overhang to prevent the structure from catching fire if flames ignite from the ashes.

CAL FIRE officials would also like to provide these cold weather safety tips to help you in keeping your home warm and safe;

Never use flammable liquids or excessive amounts of paper to start or accelerate a fire.
Charcoal gives off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide. Do not burn it indoors.
Keep flammables away from heat sources. Wood stoves require a 36-inch clearance from combustible surfaces.
The use of kerosene heaters inside the home is prohibited by California law.
Keep children away from heat sources.
Never leave a fire unattended.
Wood stoves should be UL approved and properly installed.
Never attempt to heat a structure with a device that was designed for outdoor use, such as a camp stove.
Have a professional inspect and clean your chimney, stovepipe and/or furnace annually. Do not attempt repairs yourself.
Keep a metal or glass screen in front of the fireplace opening. Make sure the damper is open before lighting.
Check furnace control and emergency shut-offs to be sure they are working properly.

Remember…be fire smart to stay fire safe.