As the winter season officially arrives, residents are reminded that fireplace and woodstove ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days after a fire. The rule to remember is: never put ashes in a paper or plastic bag, cardboard box or plastic bucket.
“Embers often concealed in what appears to be cold ashes, can remain hot
enough to rekindle a fire for several days,” said Fire Chief Richard Bowers. “We
want residents to enjoy their fireplaces, wood stoves and grills but to always
take care to dispose of the ashes wisely.”
The Division of Solid Waste Services (Dept. of Environmental Protection)
joins the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service in reminding residents never to
put out ashes from fireplaces for collection with their regular household trash
unless they have been thoroughly soaked with water in a metal ash bucket with a
tight fitting metal lid and designed for that purpose, or held in place for at
least a week to ensure there are no residual embers.
Store any container holding ash outside, away from structures, decks, fences,
wood piles or other combustible materials. Ashes retain enough heat to ignite
other combustible materials for several days after a fire.
Cooled ashes may be brought to the Shady Grove Road Processing Facility and
Transfer Station for disposal in specifically-designated ash containers. The
Transfer Station is located at 16101 Frederick Rd., Derwood (off Rt. 355 at
Shady Grove Rd.).
When delivering ash, residents are asked to use the Frederick Rd. (Rt. 355)
entrance just south of Shady Grove Rd. The Transfer Station's Public Unloading
Facility (PUF) -- also called the "Car Ramp" -- has several steel drums marked
specifically for ash disposal. The drums are located between trash drop-off
bays. Contractor staff verifies that the ash has cooled off before taking it to
the rubble drop-off area for disposal.
“Hot ashes that are not properly cooled and disposed are significant fire
hazards, capable of starting fires when mixed in loads of waste in refuse
collection trucks, on rail cars on their way to waste disposal facilities or
while waste is actually being processed at the County’s Transfer Station,” said
Dan Locke, chief of the Division of Solid Waste Services.
MCFRS and DSWS both want residents to be aware that the risk of fire becomes
even greater when it is windy. The wind can reignite embers and potentially send
them toward nearby combustibles, such as homes.
Two other helpful ash safety hints from MCFRS are: never use a vacuum cleaner
to pick up ashes and always have working smoke alarms on every level of the home
and test them monthly.
For more information, including photos of the Transfer Station disposal site,
visit the DSWS