For Immediate Release: March 20, 2020
Forest Ranger Captain Douglas Miner, N.H. Forest Protection Bureau, Division of Forests & Lands
Caution urged with disposal of woodstove ashes
State forestry and local fire officials across New Hampshire are warning residents and visitors to use extreme caution with the disposal of woodstove and outdoor wood boiler ashes due to dry spring conditions. Small brush fires were reported in several communities in the southern part of the state during the last week that were ignited by the careless disposal of hot wood ashes.
As New Hampshire continues to experience fluctuating weather conditions requiring the use of wood heat, it is important to be aware of the increasing fire danger and to practice proper disposal techniques for wood ash.
Fire officials recommend ashes be stored in a metal container with secured lid for several days with the container located outside and away from other combustibles. Wood ash is a good insulator of live embers that can easily come into contact with and ignite dry leaves and grasses, causing a wildfire.
“It’s very important for homeowners to be sure that ashes are completely cold before disposal; it only takes one hot ember to spark a wildfire,” stated Steven Sherman, chief of the Forest Protection Bureau with the N.H. Division of Forests & Lands.
“Every wildfire has the potential to cause property loss and serious injury that can easily be avoided,” Sherman added. “We ask that people make responsible decisions regarding fire use and comply with all applicable laws, rules and permitting requirements.”
Open burning in New Hampshire is regulated by the Division of Forests & Lands, the Department of Environmental Services-Air Resources Division and local forest fire wardens. Information regarding daily fire danger conditions and links to the fire laws, administrative rules and permitting requirements can be referenced at: nh.gov/nhdfl/community/daily-fire-danger.htm.
Part of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the Division of Forests and Lands protects and promotes the value provided by trees, forests and natural communities. For more information about the Division of Forests and Lands, visit nh.gov/nhdfl or call 603-271-2214.