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Fire officials warn of fire dangers with fireplaces, wood burning stoves

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Local fire department officials are reminding people to properly dispose of their ashes to reduce the risk of fire.

“If you properly dispose of the ashes from your fireplace or wood burning stove and place them in a metal can, you won’t risk burning your property or that of your neighbors. 'Can Your Ashes' means when you clean your fireplace or wood burning stove make sure you place the hot ashes into a metal can or container so you can safely transport them outside,” said Unit Chief Kelly Keenan of the Amador-El Dorado Unit of Cal Fire.

Proper ash disposal tips:

- When cleaning your fireplace or woodstove, always place your ashes in a metal container, never use a paper or plastic bag or cardboard box.

- Put the metal container outside and immediately pour water into the can to cool any hot embers. Coals or pieces of wood can smolder for days.

-Stir the water into the ashes with a stick, making sure everything is cold.

-Cover the container with a lid and store the metal container away from flammable materials.

-If you vacuum your ashes it is critical that you make sure you use an appropriate “ash vacuum” which is specially designed to hold hot and cold embers. Never, ever use your regular home vacuum.

- Never place hot ashes in your garbage can as they will catch your garbage can on fire.

“Let’s make sure our holiday season is filled with wonderful memories, not a visit by the fire department. Remember fire prevention is your responsibility," said Keenan.

For more fire and life safety information, visit www.fire.ca.gov.