Disposal of Fireplace Ashes

Dear Ski Valley Property Owner:

In the last month we have narrowly escaped a major catastrophe here in the village. Twice the Fire Department was called to the village waste compactor to put out a fire in the compactor.

In each case the fire was started by fireplace ashes.

The last time we had to put three hundred gallons of water into the compactor to completely extinguish the fire.  With out current temperatures this resulted in a large frozen mass.

If the compactor really catches on fire the heat could ruin it.  This would be very expensive for the village and probably slow down our ability to accept waste.

The bottom line is please do not put fresh ashes in the compactor as they can smolder and re-ignite very easily.

If you have ashes from your fireplace please store them in a metal container outside for at least three days (a week is better).  They are then safe.  Half burnt logs are worse and need at least a week outside before being safe.  A metal container is a must, we have had houses burn down due to ashes left on the deck in a flammable container.

So please be very careful with fireplace ashes, they can remain hot enough to catch fire again much longer than you imagine.

We have a great volunteer Fire Department here in the Village but they need your help to prevent fires in the compactor or in your home.

Thank you,

Neal King

Mayor, Village of Taos Ski Valley and Assistant Fire Chief