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Residential Vegetation Fire
updated: Feb 26, 2013, 4:23 PM

Source: Santa Barbara Fire Department

A vegetation fire was reported shortly after 11am this morning in the front yard of a Samarkand home. The fire was reported by several neighbors who noticed the smoke. The smoke quickly turned to flames that began to threaten the residential structure.

A Santa Barbara County Fire engine was near-by and the first unit to arrive on scene. With assistance from Santa Barbara City Engine 3, County Engine 15 quickly extinguished the fire. Fire crews overhauled the fire area and checked for fire extension into the structure utilizing thermal imaging cameras. A fire investigator was called to the scene to interview the homeowner and determine the cause of the fire.

The homeowner stated that he had cleaned the ashes out of his fireplace using a paper bag. The bag was placed in the garden area to the front of his home. According to the homeowner, the fireplace had not been in use for a couple of days and he had assumed the coals were cold. The coals did eventually produce enough heat to ignite the paper bag and then the vegetation.

There are two important messages to highlight from this incident. The Santa Barbara City Fire Department recommends that homeowners utilize non-combustible metal containers to remove coals from a fireplace or barbeque. Before depositing the coals into a trash container, be sure to stir and wet down the coals to ensure complete extinguishment. Secondly, when this homeowner decided to use his garden hose to attack the fire, his wife wisely called 911 to notify the fire department. Never delay the notification of 911. Even if you are successful in extinguishing the fire, let the fire department investigate to be sure the fire is completely out.

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UPDATED : The brush fire has been put out by the Fire Department. (02/27/13)
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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 379014 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:16 PM

Can you say D'oh!


 COMMENT 379015 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 06:20 PM

I'm sorry, even if it has been a WEEK, putting ash in a PAPER BAG amongst plants is--I don't want to get nanny'd, so I will keep it nice--EXTREMELY IMPRUDENT. This person should be charged for the cost of the emergency response.
Examples of things to put ash in: Cement, Iron. Period.
It's a wonder people get through a day, let alone life, with so little common sense.


 COMMENT 379047 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 07:47 PM

My mother had this thing about letting coals burn themselves out. We had a small tabletop grill that she wouldn't let me extinguish after we used it one evening.

At 4:30 AM I was awakened by the sound of a roaring fire - somehow the coals fell onto the redwood picnic table below the grill and then ignited the wooden fencing nearby. The house was minutes from going up in flames. Common sense, indeed.


 COMMENT 379050P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 07:52 PM

It wasn't wise to put ashes in a paper bag. However, it's pretty ridiculous to assume that this homeowner wasn't capable of putting out this fire himself and needed SBFD's emergency response.


 COMMENT 379068 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-26 08:36 PM

From the size of the flames (see photo) it seems ridiculous to think that the home owner could put it out himself. That close to the house it seems prudent to call for help.


 COMMENT 379105P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 01:33 AM

When I am trying to start a fire in my fireplace, I often think on how capricious/tempermental sparks and such can be.

How strange is it that, invariably, one has to light a piece of paper two or three times, in two or three spots, to try and get a fire going in one's fireplace. Yet, sometimes, all it takes is one errant spark outside and there goes the neighborhood.

Nature does huffing and puffing better, I guess.


 COMMENT 379149 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 08:07 AM

We bought a metal tamale pot with a lid for our ashes, stays out by the grill, no problems. Once it is full, we wait many days until we dump it.


 SBROCKS agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 09:19 AM

This homeowner burns everything in his fireplace. It seems like toxic waste whenever his fireplace is going. Hopefully the fire department has educated him on what to and not to burn. Many things should not be burned for the exact reason that they do burn for long periods of time.


 COMMENT 379555 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-27 04:36 PM

This seems to happen alot--fireplace ashes, or coal from a BBQ. Why don't people leave them in the fireplace or BBQ until they're cool? or put in a metal pail or trash can. I had a friend who put coals from the previous night's BBQ in a bag in the garage. The garage caught on fire the next afternoon. Why they didn't just leave them in the BBQ I don't know.


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