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Anchorage Fire Department
Wednesday May 19th, 2021 :: 08:00 a.m. AKDT


Cigarettes and Flowerpots Create a Fire Hazard

This is a very important reminder about the seriousness of disposing cigarette butts improperly.  In many places around town the receding snow has shown the accumulation of discarded cigarette butts. Even worse, AFD has responded to approximately 17 fires already this spring that have been attributed to cigarettes being improperly disposed of.
Not many people think of potted plants as fire hazards, and sometimes smokers will attempt to extinguish their cigarette in flowerpots or mulch. The soil in planters is frequently packed with combustible materials which can ignite. Some of these fires ignite quickly, but for others, the fire smolders for hours or even days before finally transitioning to open flame.
Improper discarding of cigarettes can ignite flowerpots and planters. These small fires can easily catch the building walls and overhangs on fire. The fire quickly extends into the attic via the eves and into the residence via the windows and doors. Wooden decks and other backyard combustible items add additional fuel to the fire.
Outdoor fires often go unnoticed longer than indoor fires, especially at night when no one is present outside, and the smoke is not detected as there are no smoke alarms outside of a home. To be safe, never put out a cigarette in a planter and please never discard a used cigarette butt off a balcony or onto the ground.  The results could be catastrophic.
Smokers should use deep, wide ashtrays to dispose of butts when smoking outside the home in their yard or on their deck. A metal can with sand or water are safe and effective in disposing cigarette butts and are the preferred option.

Anchorage Fire Department
100 E 4th Ave
Anchorage, AK 99501

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 907-227-9473

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