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Fire Service increases Fire Hazard Index to Extreme

July 25, 2016 - Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Service advises residents that the Fire Hazard Index has advanced from High to Extreme.

As the area continues to have hot, dry weather with little rain, grass and brush can easily ignite and rapidly grow in size. Despite the adverse conditions, there have been few fires across the municipality and Chief Mark Pankhurst credits residents for their diligence.

“We are pleased that residents have shown extra care the last several weeks and have refrained from open air burning whenever possible. We have seen a very low volume of calls and we want to thank residents for being responsible,” comments Pankhurst.

The Fire Service been made aware of other fire departments reporting a higher than average number of fires, some serious, caused by potting soil catching fire.

This new trend of accidental fires has two root causes: Careless disposal of smoking materials, and spontaneous combustion.

Many people tend to their planters in early spring and may forget about them as the summer season advances. If allowed to dry out, the potting materials act as heat absorbers. When combined with temperature build-up from bacterial decomposition, the right mix of heat and humidity and the presence of fertilizer, a fire can start on its own – similar to what happens to compost piles and hay bales.

Fire departments state that the chance of this type of spontaneous combustion in planters is relatively low. However, if a potted plant is allowed to dry out and something hot is placed in it, such as a lit cigarette, it will burn. Residents are encouraged to water their potted plants and safely dispose of smoking materials.


For more information please contact:

Fritz Mattern
Fire Prevention Officer
705-324-5731 extension 545

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