Planter Pots are not Ashtrays

Every year, Red Deer Emergency Services investigates fires started by smokers using plant pots as ashtrays.

Planter pot fireMany potting soil mixes on the market today contain as much or more organic material as inorganic material. For example, potting soil can be made of shredded wood, bark, and/or peat moss with minimal amounts of what we call real soil (dirt). Styrofoam pellets, perlite and vermiculite are some of the other items that are often added to the soil mixture for aeration and water retention. In addition, many mixtures also include different types of fertilizers. Some fertilizers are oxidizers, which will make a fire that does start, grow at an even faster rate.

When you use a dried out plant pot as an ashtray it will work to insulate the lit cigarette. The soil heats to ignition temperature and begins to smolder. Smoldering can continue for several hours, consuming more and more plant pot material. When sufficient oxygen is available the material can break into flame. If other combustible material is in close proximity to the planter or flowerpot it may become involved resulting in a serious fire.

Have you taken proper precautions with planter pots in and around your home to keep your family and property safe? Be a responsible smoker, planter pots are not ashtrays.

Helpful Hints

  • Do not use old planter pots that contain potting soil as an ashtray.
  • Keep an ashtray in areas where someone might be smoking around potted plants.
  • If you have dead plants in pots in and around your home, discard them properly. Throw them out in the trash or take the soil from the pots and spread it in your yard or garden.
  • Keep your plants well watered and maintained. If you keep your potting soil in your garage or on your deck, do not leave it near any combustible material.