Safe Storage and Disposal of Ashes

If you’re going to be burning wood in your fireplace – either for heat or ambiance, you want to be careful with how you manage the ashes after you have a fire. I have a brother in-law who nearly burned his rental house down after putting what he thought were “cool” ashes in a paper grocery bag and storing them in the screen porch for the evening. I know you’re shaking your head, and yes, he is a college graduate. But at the time, he felt certain that there was no heat energy left in the ashes, and was clearly wrong. Every year, numerous home and forest fires are caused by the improper disposal of ashes, so it’s worth a refresher course.

According to the Wisconsin DNR, ashes should be stored in a covered steel container on a non-flammable surface. Extreme care should be taken when you dispose your ashes outdoors and the ground isn’t snow covered. Ashes shouldn’t be dumped in wooded or grassy areas and it’s best to wait a week before dumping them. If the ground isn’t snow covered, you should dig a pit near an outside hose and water them down once you’ve dumped them in the pit.

If your ashes cause a fire, you are responsible for the costs of putting the fire out. I can think of more fun things to do with my money and I’m sure you can too. It’s better to be safe and keep your ash out of trouble! – Wanda Boldon