ST. GEORGE — Following a brush fire near New Harmony on Monday, firefighters warn that ash can remain hot and spark fires for longer than people realize.

A two-acre brush fire near Exit 40 on New Year’s Day was put out by the New Harmony Special Services District, New Harmony, Utah, 1/1/2024 | Photo courtesy of Maddalyn Goodman, St. George News

The two-acre fire threatened some outlying structures between two homes on five-acre lots near Interstate 15’s Exit 40. New Harmony Firefighter Maddalyn Goodman told St. George News the cause of the fire appears to be hot ashes the homeowners thought were cool enough to put outside. She said the ash seems to have been put on a mulch pile where it ignited.

“Ash stays hot for a long time — much longer than people think,” Goodman said.

The homeowners reportedly said they thought since the ash had been sitting in a bucket for two days, the heat would have dissipated, but it wasn’t so. Goodman said that ash contained and sitting in a bucket holds heat and stays hotter than most people realize, posing a safety risk. She said even when it’s cold, ash and mulch can become combustible.

But the homeowners were savvy: they called New Harmony Special Services District, which and worked to protect their property, she added.

This report is based on statements from police, emergency personnel or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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