Concern over fires caused by disposal of hot ashes

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The Gore Volunteer Fire Brigade has attended 267 call-outs in the past year, a significant number of them for fires caused by the incorrect disposal of ashes, chief fire officer Steve Lee says.
The incorrect disposal of ashes was particularly prevalent in winter, he said.
In a recent incident ashes put in a wheelie bin ignited, causing a fire in a Gore garage.
‘‘And fortunately it was seen about 4am in the morning, otherwise we would have had a house fire,’’ Mr Lee said.
Residents needed to store hot ashes in a metal container with a lid for at least five days before transferring them to a wheelie bin, he said.
If there was any doubt over whether ashes were still burning, dousing them with water was the best option, he said.
‘‘What I’m talking about is not an isolated incident — I’m concerned about the potential loss of life.’’
The Gore brigade attended about 12 fires caused by hot ashes each winter, Mr Lee said.
The fires ranged from vegetation being ignited by hot ashes to wheelie bins containing ashes catching fire and setting sheds and even houses ablaze, Mr Lee said.
He paid tribute to the 40 Gorebased firefighters, who made a significant contribution to the community.
Mataura Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Neil Rogan said last year the brigade attended a house fire caused by hot ashes. The house was badly damaged.
However, this winter the brigade had not had any call-outs to ash fires or chimney fires, he said.
But, that was no reason for complacency, and he urged residents to remain vigilant regarding the disposal of hot ashes.
‘‘The message has hopefully got through about ashes,’’ Mr Rogan said.
The Mataura brigade had had a busy year, despite fewer call-outs to ash-related fires, he said.