frankenstein
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Composting - can you start a fire?

Seems like a crazy question but should there be concern of starting a fire?

frankenstein
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Marlingardener wrote:Not a crazy question at all--it is possible, but not on a well-maintained compost pile. Compost piles require water--they shouldn't turn into a swimming pool or a breeding ground for mosquitoes, but they do need to be damp for all the good rotting to go on. If your compost pile is damp, you won't see it go up in flames.
Believe me, it's easier to keep a compost pile damp than it is to get it damp in the first place. Try getting damp in Texas!
Thanks for the reply.

I'm kind of green at this whole thing.....wait......does that apply to gardening...he he.

I'm going to start composting so i have some nice spread for post-winter planting. Making my bed this weekend!

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tomf
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This is funny I had one near my house and I was afraid as it got so hot that I moved it. My dad had a woman put dirty dippers on the deck of an apartment he owned. The dippers spontaneously combusted and burned out the kitchen this is why I got scared.

frankenstein
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tomf wrote:This is funny I had one near my house and I was afraid as it got so hot that I moved it. My dad had a woman put dirty dippers on the deck of an apartment he owned. The dippers spontaneously combusted and burned out the kitchen this is why I got scared.
Talk about hot pants!

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tomf
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It was a smelly mess to clean up. :?

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rainbowgardener
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Agree with MarlinG... A well maintained compost pile will heat up but never combust.

Wet hay bales do sometimes catch fire, but they are very packed and full of hay dust which is very flammable and they are not turned or anything. If you want to prevent that in the hay bale, you just have to open it up and toss it around a bit.

But the compost pile full of lots of different ingredients, mixture of brown and green, and kept a little damp, is not an issue.

Congratulations on starting composting! Best thing you can do for your garden! And great for reducing waste. I compost everything... used paper towels, coffee filters, the bags the bird seed comes in, etc.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

frankenstein
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rainbowgardener wrote:Agree with MarlinG... A well maintained compost pile will heat up but never combust.

Wet hay bales do sometimes catch fire, but they are very packed and full of hay dust which is very flammable and they are not turned or anything. If you want to prevent that in the hay bale, you just have to open it up and toss it around a bit.

But the compost pile full of lots of different ingredients, mixture of brown and green, and kept a little damp, is not an issue.

Congratulations on starting composting! Best thing you can do for your garden! And great for reducing waste. I compost everything... used paper towels, coffee filters, the bags the bird seed comes in, etc.
This is very cool stuff! I've keeping corn cobs, melon rinds.....I didn't eve think of coffee filters but I will keep them now!

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tomf
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An old saying "you can't make hay when it rains".

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gixxerific
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Agree with the above. But I believe you have to have one hell of a pile in order to get afire going that and the perfect conditions, meaning a pile that is cooking well and dry hot weather to boot.

toxcrusadr
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It mostly happens at large commercial facilities

Compost and mulch fires are not all that rare, but you usually hear about them happening at a large commercial or municipal yard waste mulch or composting site. And (as stated above) it happens when things aren't maintained.

A very large pile with enough greens can get hot and retain heat due to the size, especially in summer when it gets a boost from ambient temperatures. It can't combust when very wet, but if things are JUST RIGHT, there's a point when it begins to dry out but is still very hot, where it can combust. I've witnessed smoldering fires at a city mulch site, in house-sized piles of shredded yard waste. The fire can burn itself a chimney, and then it has a draft to keep it going.

Not likely to happen at home for a lot of reasons. I still don't put my pile next to the house, but not because I worry about fires.
Tox

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