Ash bucket, ash can, ash pit

This seems awfully elementary and I don’t want to insult anyone so if you already know this or have your own system just ignore this. But on the other hand I’ve seen neighbors I thought would know better start brush fires by disposing of hot stove ashes outside.

So in case you don’t already know, the first rule of disposing of ashes is make damned sure they’re cold first. Charcoal can hold hot coals for hours after the fire goes out so it doesn’t pay to assume. There might be a lot of good ways to deal with it but this is mine…


I’ve got a cheap little aluminum bucket that sits by the woodstove for when I want to clean it out. For a much better ash shovel than you’ll find in any fireplace set, look here. Outside, there’s an ashcan – sort of a half-size garbage can – with a tight-fitting lid. The ashes go into the can and sit there with the lid on for a couple of days. That way I know without having to hope that the ashes are cold. When it’s about half full and before I pour a fresh bucketload into it, I carry it out to the ash pit – which itself is dug in a place unlikely to start any fires in case I somehow did everything else wrong.

And a brush fire is one oopsie I’ve never had to deal with, so I must be doing something right. 🙂

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Ash bucket, ash can, ash pit

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good reminder, Joel. Sunday afternoon is my usual time to clean the ashes out of both my wood stoves, one on each level. The upper one gets fried on weekends, the office one on weekdays, although because of my thermal circulation system, both stoves help to heat both levels. I have a similar setup fo ashes, including the pit. Always good to raise awareness on the danger of live coals. Been snowing here since before noon, still blowing and snowing. Our fist serious winter blizzard. I’ve shoveled once, will do so again in a few hours. They promise 4-8 inches. I think we already have 3 or 4, and the north sides of the trees are plastered white. Birds are mobbing the sunflower seeds and the suet. Hey, congratulations on the snug and cozy home, and on the charges holding well in the batteries. A good feeling in winter to know one can relax for a while and enjoy the snow and cold, admiring it from a warm perch. Happy New Year! **

  2. Anonymous says:

    fired, not fried. for not fo. oh, sheesh.

  3. Tennessee Budd says:

    The junior high school I attended was built at the turn of the century–that would be 19th to 20th. It had an old boiler-and-radiators team heating system; actually, “heating system” is an overly generous description.
    Anyhow, Clyde, the janitor, wasn’t too burdened with good sense, and so it was at least a once-a-month occurrence to arrive in the morning to see the dumpster outside afire, due to Clyde dumping the ashes in it without first ensuring that they were truly out.
    Good move Joel: not doing so would cause problems that your stove phobia couldn’t match.

  4. Mike says:

    Good move Joel. It’s not like you can pick up the phone, dial 911 and the pumper rolls up in 4 or 5 minutes.

  5. Howard says:

    We put our hot ashes on the brush burning pile well away from anything burnable. They always have live coals in winter because we can’t let the stoves go cold. Last week we had four days when it didn’t get above -10 but at five am today we were warmer than you at +35! Happy new year. From the Copper Basin Alaska.

  6. Joel says:

    You don’t have a problem with wind?

  7. Robert says:

    Jeez, I set the house on fire just that one time and I get a lecture 🙂

To the stake with the heretic!