Q: How do I properly dispose of my ashes?

 Ashes should be stored in a covered metal container placed outside and away from your home and any other combustibles. The only time ashes are safe is when they are completely extinguished.  This ensures there is no heat, no sparks and not a single ember.

When it comes to safe ash removal, the danger is in the small bits of embers mixed and buried within the ashes. These buried hot embers can stay dormant for several days because the ash acts as an insulator prolonging the embers from fully burning out.  Similar to any smouldering fire, sometimes all these embers need to cause a fire is a little bit of oxygen (which is readily available in the air).

Even when the ashes are disposed of in a proper container - metal can with a tight fitting lid, elevated bottom and placed on a non-combustable surface - safe removal is not yet complete. A fire hazard still remains if the ashes are removed from this safe container before all embers are completely extinguished.

There is no "set time" for determining complete distinguishment as it depends on several variables which include size of embers, type of wood burned, type of ash can used, etc.

If you are unsure, please err or the side of caution and leave the ashes in their safe container for a few days longer. Many woodburners utilize a "two" ash can rotation system as an extra precaution.

When properly disposing of ashes, follow the procedures above and make sure completely cooled ashes are in a bag before placing in refuse container.

* This information was gather from the Halifax Regional Municipality website, but applies to the Centre Region.