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Chico Fire-Rescue’s 2nd Annual “Can Your Ashes” Campaign

CHICO, Calif. Chico Fire-Rescue reminds all residents that use a fireplace or wood stove during the winter that the improper disposal of ashes can pose a serious fire threat. Ashes from fireplaces and wood stoves can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days or longer, depending upon conditions. According to recent National Fire Protection Agency statistics, improperly discarded ashes caused approximately 9,870 residential structure fires, 32 civilian deaths and 171 civilian injuries annually. Many of these fires occurred late in the evening or early in the morning when residents were asleep, increasing the risk of injuries or death.  During the 2011 winter’s heating season, Chico Fire-Rescue responded to several fires caused by improperly discarded ashes.  Nationally, on December 25, 2011, three children and their two grandparents tragically died during the Christmas holiday in a Stanford, Conn. fire from the same cause.  In response to last year’s fires caused by the improper disposal of ashes, Chico Fire-Rescue kicked off the “Can Your Ashes” fire safety campaign.  The program educates residents about the inherent dangers associated with disposing fireplace and woodstove ashes in improper containers and locations. Residents must follow fire safe practices to protect lives and property.  Chico Fire-Rescue offers the following “Can Your Ashes” tips for fireplace and wood stove users:

  • Never store ashes in combustible bags, boxes or buckets
  • Douse ashes with water
  • Place ashes in a heavy metal container with a tight fitted lid
  • Store container outside, away from structures, decks, fences, wood piles & garbage cans
  • Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes
  • Contact your trash collection agency for their disposal recommendations

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