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Kennewick fire officials caution of potting soil, cigarette fires

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - Kennewick fire officials are providing safety tips to help avoid potting soil fires.

According to Kennewick Fire Department (KFD) press, several fires in the Tri-Cities have been caused by people putting out cigarettes in planters with potting soil.

Several of the potting soil fires in the Tri-Cities area have started on balconies in apartment complexes where even more residents are at risk.

Potting mixes sold in garden stores contain little or no actual soil according to KFD officials. Instead, they contain a blend of materials designed to absorb and retain water and aerate the soil.

Firefighters say a lit cigarette could cause fire to ignite if placed in dry potting soil.

KPD offers the following tips to help prevent potting soil-related fires.

  • Provide smokers a designated smoking area with proper cigarette disposal (i.e. a metal bucket filled with sand)
  • Inform smokers not to use flower or plant potters as an ashtray
  • Discard dead plants from planters.
  • Avoid plastic planters and instead use clay ones, which would prevent a fire from spreading more rapidly
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