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Wildfire causes
Smokey Bear's 75th Birthday logo

During 2019, we salute Smokey Bear's efforts to prevent human-caused fires. Happy 75th birthday, Smokey!

Contact information
For more information, contact:
Catherine Koele
Forest fire prevention specialist
715-356-5211 x208

Wildfire causesWood heat devices

Picking up hot ashes and putting them into a metal container to prevent the nearby vegetation from catching fire.

Cleaning out hot ashes from woodstoves and fireplaces and discarding them into wooded or grassy areas or sparks from the chimney of a wood boiler can cause an unwanted wildfire and easily threaten your home and property.

More and more people are turning to alternative wood heat devices to heat homes and other structures. These devices include fireplaces, woodstoves and outdoor wood boilers. What many people do not know is that under snow-free conditions, typically vegetation is dry and prime fuel for a wildfire to occur if given an ignition source.

Ashes

Properly dispose of hot ashes from your fireplace or woodstove by:

  • emptying ashes in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid;
  • letting embers cool by drowning and stirring the ashes with plenty of water and a shovel; and
  • since embers can remain hot for days, avoid disposing of ashes in the outdoors unless the ground is completely snow-covered and will remain so for days to come.

Wood boilers

Properly maintain outdoor wood boilers for safe operation by:

  • removing all flammable vegetation surrounding your outdoor wood boiler;
  • routinely cleaning stacks to reduce chances of built-up debris from escaping; and
  • installing a chimney stack screen to prevent sparks and embers from escaping (consult vendor for recommendations).
Last revised: Friday April 13 2018