Atascadero — Shortly after 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12 four fire engines responded to a small fire in an outbuilding on the 1400 block of Chispa Road south of Atascadero. Firefighters arrived at the rural location just outside the city limits and were able to knock the fire down in moments. The fire was in Cal Fire jurisdiction and mutual aid was provided by the Atascadero Fire Department and Atascadero State Hospital Fire Department.
Nobody was hurt during the incident and no homes were damaged. The fire is thought to have been caused by improper discarding of ashes from a fireplace according to Clint Bullard, Fire Information Officer with Cal Fire.
“Now that we are in a period of cold, dry weather, it’s definitely natural that people are using their wood burning fireplaces or stoves,” Bullard said.
Stoves and fireplaces should be properly checked out by a licensee or certified fire inspector or chimney sweep, Bullard said. They should be installed properly and kept clean, he added. Bullard recommends discarding ashes in a large metal container with a lid and using metal utensils and gloves when dealing with hot ashes.
“Just don’t throw it out in the yard,” he said. “Make sure those hot ashes and embers are very cool before you discard them. It doesn’t hurt to add water to stir it a few times.”
Bullard also said that the notion of a fire season in California is no longer applicable and residents should remain vigilant all year long.
“There’s no such thing as fire season anymore in the state of California,” he said. “Given the weather conditions we’re in, it’s fire season throughout all times of the year, the calendar just doesn’t make a difference now. At all the times the state can burn.”