Truckee Meadows Fire offers ash cans to prevent fires

Photo courtesy TMFPD
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District says 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, TMFPD is providing ash cans at no charge to Washoe County residents. Residents can stop by any Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Station, or the District’s Administrative office at 1001 E. 9th Street, Building D while supplies last. There is a limit of one ash can per household. You can also purchase ash cans at local retailers.

“As 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,” says Fire Chief Charles Moore.

Moore says 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.

Please note: If fire/rescue crews are on an emergency response, there will not be personnel to respond to ash can requests at the station. TMFPD asks residents return at a later time, or go to the Fire District’s Administrative office at 1001 E. 9th Street, Building D.