This is the time of year when most people in Massachusetts are spending a lot of time outside, beautifying their yards. One of the things we pretty much all use to do this is garden mulch. And as nice as it makes our yards look, did you know that mulch can significantly increase the risk of structure fire? That is... if you don't take the proper precautions.

The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services is always posting fire safety tips, and they recently posted a warning about using mulch improperly.

Mulch can catch fire quite easily...

The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services says that mulch is very combustible, and can catch fire very easily. In fact, one of the precautions that you should follow according to fire officials is to keep mulch at least 18 inches from the structure of your home and from your deck when placing it. It's fairly common for people to not pay attention to this tip.

 

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(Above: the mulch here is separated from the home with gravel)

 

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Another very important tip is to never dispose of smoking materials around mulch or leaves. Some smokers often flick their cigarettes away when done. If the butt lands in a mulch pile, the results can be disastrous.

 

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Much is pretty dry most of the time. It can catch fire quite easily when a cigarette that hasn't been properly put out sits on top of it for any amount of time.

 

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If you are storing mulch for later use, you should keep at least 30 feet between mulch storage piles.

 

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This graphic sums up the proper mulch use precautions:

Shutterstock / Ozgur Coskun
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