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How to dispose of ash from fire pits

Updated February 21, 2017

Fire pits allow people to gather around a warm fire at home during the cool months without the need to travel to a picnic area or campground. Regardless of the type of fire pit you use, you'll need to dispose of the ashes correctly. Although you can use cool wood ashes for some tasks around your home, such as soaking up paint on a driveway or keeping snails and slugs out of your garden, you'll need to dispose of most of the ashes. Cleaning the ash from the fire pit isn't a difficult process, however you must make sure that the ash is completely cool before attempting to move it to a storage container.

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  1. Wait about a week until the ashes have had a chance to completely cool down before you remove the ashes from the pit. According to the Walker Fire Protection Association, wood ashes "retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days."

  2. Scoop all the ashes, coals and debris from the fire pit with a metal scooper or shovel. Place the debris into a metal container that can be closed with a tight-fitting lid.

  3. Douse the ashes inside the container with water to ensure the ashes are not hot and will not ignite anything.

  4. Strain out the excess water from the container and secure the lid to the container. The lid not only prevents items from falling into the container, but it also robs the ashes from oxygen, a needed element to create fire.

  5. Store the container outside until you are ready to dump the ashes into a bag and place it in the trash as you would other items.

  6. Tip

    Stir the ashes and coals around to check for glowing coals. Glowing coals indicate that it could ignite something.


    Some parks and campgrounds request that you leave the ash for them to clean up. Consult with the park ranger or staff for what you should do when finished using their fire pit. Never place warm ashes in paper, plastic or cardboard containers; these containers are combustible.

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Things You'll Need

  • Scooper or shovel
  • Metal container with lid
  • Bag
  • Rubbish bin

About the Author

Lauren Thomason has written professionally since 2011 for online publications such as eHow. She is an avid gardener and crafter, history buff and science experiment fanatic. She holds a Master of Science in elementary education and is pursuing a Doctor of Education from Liberty University.

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