A vegetation fire damaged the front yard of a Samarkand home Tuesday afternoon after the homeowner placed fireplace ashes in the garden area, igniting a paper bag and the vegetation.
Gary Pitney, a captain with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, said several neighbors reported seeing smoke shortly after 11 a.m., and the smoke quickly turned to flames that then threatened the residence.
He said a department fire engine was nearby and responded to the scene, assisting a crew from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
A fire investigator interviewed the homeowner, who said he had cleaned the ashes out of the fireplace using a paper bag. He said the fireplace hadn’t been used for a couple of days and he assumed the coals were cold. However, according to Pitney, the coals eventually produced enough heat to ignite the bag and surrounding vegetation.
Fire officials recommend that homeowners use non-combustible metal containers to remove coals from fireplaces or barbecues, and before putting the coals into a trash container, stir and wet down the coals.