OLD TOWN, Maine — An official with the Maine Forest Service urged Mainers Thursday to use extreme caution when disposing of wood stove ashes.
The combination of chilly nights requiring some households to use wood stoves and extremely dry conditions has resulted in an elevated risk for grass and brush fires, Ranger Jerry Parsons said.
Parson said that two fires this week, one in Bradford and the other in Enfield, both were caused by improper disposal of wood stove ashes.
Even though ashes might appear to be cold, they could contain live embers that when exposed to oxygen can flare up, Parsons said.
Until the region “greens up,” Parsons recommends that residents who are using wood stoves apply water to the ashes before disposing of them on the ground or in trash cans. The ashes can be buried in snow in areas that still have snow cover.
He said ashes should be discarded in metal containers rather than cardboard boxes, which can catch fire.