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. 🙂