Proper Ash Disposal

December 30th, 2020

Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team Logo

Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team

Proper Ash Disposal

Contact: North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, Tia Rancourt 775-813-8106

LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev. – As the temperature drops outside and we think about using our fireplaces and heating stoves, it is important to remember a few safety tips and precautions. Heating equipment and improper ash disposal are the leading causes of home and wildland fires during the fall and winter months.

Be warm and safe this season and consider following these safety tips:

  • Have heating equipment, chimney and stove inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep every fall just before the heating season.
  • Allow ashes to COOL completely before disposing of them. Four days or 96 hours is the minimum recommended cooling period for ashes.
  • Place completely cooled ashes in a covered metal container. Keep the container at least 10 feet away from the home and other buildings. They should NEVER be disposed of in a plastic garbage box or can, a cardboard box or paper grocery bag. Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes.
  • The metal container should be placed away from anything flammable. It should not be placed next to a firewood pile, up against or in the garage, on or under a wood deck, or under a porch.
  • After sitting for a week in the metal container, check them again to be sure they are cool. If so, the ashes are then safe to dispose of in your trash.
  • As a safety precaution keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a fireplace, wood stove, or any other heating appliance, and create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around an open fire.

It is important to make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying, and never leave a fire unattended, particularly when children are present.

Many Fire Districts have ash can programs, check with your local Fire District for more information.
Visit TahoeLivingWithFire to find your local Fire District.