• Erie Co. Blotter.

PSA: Help Prevent Mulch Fires.

Fire Departments Throughout Erie Co along with Erie Co. Blotter would like to remind residents to use caution and common sense when it comes to landscaping mulch. Each year during the spring and summer months, numerous mulch fires are reported across Erie County. These fires start out small and undetected, but can eventually grow into a devastating fire, causing major damage to buildings, homes, and other structures.  

Typically, mulch that is piled too deeply, more than a few inches, can build up heat and spontaneously catch fire. Another problem is decorative lighting. If lights are installed too close, or inside mulch, they can heat it up and cause a fire. As the fire starts in the landscaping mulch, it can release a tremendous amount of radiant heat igniting nearby combustible parts of a building. It can also quickly spread into the shrubbery and then into the home or building. Other contributing factors include below average rainfall, extremely dry conditions, warm weather, and abnormal winds. The most common cause of a mulch fire is human carelessness through discarding of smoking products. Cigarette and cigar smokers often discard lighted smoking materials, including matches, into the landscaped areas as they enter and/or exit a building. So, please take extra precaution when smoking around landscaping beds. To help prevent a mulch fire, please follow these safety tips:

Become aware of this fire safety problem and use smoking materials responsibly.

Use only approved receptacles for matches, cigarettes and cigars.

Recognize that hot and dry spells allow mulch fires to start more readily.

Report any smoke or fire in a mulch bed via 9-1-1.

Maintain at least 18 inches of clearance between the edge of the mulch bed and combustible building materials, such as exterior vinyl siding and decks.

Keep mulch beds as moist as possible.

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