Prevent potted plant fires; dispose of cigarette butts properly - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Prevent potted plant fires; dispose of cigarette butts properly

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KENNEWICK, WA - The Kennewick Fire Department has seen a rise in the number of fires that start in potting soil or flower pots.

These types of fires are often of a smoldering nature and occur when smokers extinguish cigarettes outside in plant pots that often contain a mixture of peat moss, shredded wood and bark which can easily ignite.

The risk of these fires melting pots and igniting other nearby combustible materials such as foliage, decks and house siding is extremely high.

Many people mistakenly assume potting soil will extinguish their discarded butts. However, the potting mixes sold in today’s garden stores contain little or no actual soil. Instead, they contain a blend of inorganic material that may ignite easily.

Kennewick Fire Department is encouraging residents to observe the following safety tips to prevent these types of fires from occurring:

• Do not use planters or flowerpots as ashtrays. Careless disposal of smoking materials is a leading cause of accidental fires.
• In areas where people may be smoking, provide proper ashtrays or non-combustible containers filled with sand.
• Keep plants well watered to prevent the potting soil from drying out.
• Remove and dispose of dead plants promptly.
• Where possible, use non-combustible (clay or ceramic) planters and flowerpots.
• Do not locate flowerpots close to other combustible materials.