Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fire: Handle with Care

Here's a story that only our colleague John Dorner (firefighter and scout master) is likely to believe. One week ago today I burned a pile of limbs and such in my back yard (ok, in the garden area). It burned down to a couple of small logs and a pile of coals just about right for slow roasting of marshmallows.

About 9pm or so I used a tractor to bury the coals in a heaping pile of dirt. I put lots of dirt on the pile to be sure it was safe. To give you an idea, it was barely warm on top of the dirt.

Fast forward 7 days...I scattered the pile of dirt tonight-a full 7 days since the coals were covered.


DSC00451Here's part of the bed of coals after having been underground for 7 days, through 2 rainstorms, and a few cold nights. Interesting that you can make out a hint of glowing red in the very center.

What? Could it still be burning after a full week? Don't you know it! I blew on it to see if it'd blaze back up. Yep. Here it is without the flash so you don't think this is just a picture of ashy coals.


The moral of the story: a smoldering fire can live for days and still be perfectly able to blaze back up. Be very careful with fire.

Thank You to Firefighters everywhere! Especially volunteers!


John Dorner said...

You're right... I believe you. :)

A neighbor poured out some ashes that had been in the ash bucket outside for more than a week and started a small brush fire when the wind blew the ashes away from the coals.

Sometimes when camping, I'll throw some flat rocks on top of the remaining coals at night - even after a downpour, we'll be able to get a fire going from the coals in the morning.

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