This is the season for more than holidays and snuggling by the  fire…this is also the season for house fires. Many fires are caused by ashes that are not properly cooled or disposed of. In this post, we will review ways to deal safely with ash. Always remember, we install Thermo-Rite glass doors to help keep embers in your fire.


Make sure you are using a metal bucket with a tightly-fitted lid to dispose of ashes.

Make sure you are using a metal bucket with a tightly-fitted lid to dispose of ashes.

Improper ash removal from fireplaces and wood burning stoves cause thousands of fires every year. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 9870 house fires were caused yearly (1994-1998 statistics) due to improperly discarded ashes.

Hot coals, hidden in a pile of ashes and thus well insulated, can stay hot for up to 4 days.

Never empty ashes into a paper or plastic bag, cardboard box, or other similar container. The only suitable means for ash storage is a metal container with a tight fitting lid; this helps keep air from blowing through and disturbing ashes which can leave hot coals exposed for re-ignition. Many home fires begin from improperly stored ashes while the home’s occupants are asleep, as the evening breeze intensifies.


For optimum safety, wet the wood ashes prior to attaching the metal lid to the pail. DO NOT store your metal ash container on your deck, in your garage, or in any location that may allow heat to transfer from those hot coals to nearby flammable items. Untold wooden decks catch fire every year due to this simple oversight.


Wood ash, once completely cooled, can safely be disposed of in your garden because natural firewood ash makes a great soil additive that your plants will enjoy. Just make sure you have removed any mulching materials such as dried leaves and other dried plants first, so there’s nothing to catch fire in your garden. Spray the dispersed ashes with water as an added safety precaution. Do not add ashes to your soil if you burn coal, or ashes from burned wood that was painted, stained or treated with any chemicals as these chemicals may be harmful to your soil and plants.

Don’t forget: Can Your Ashes!