Summer brings an added hazard to City collection operators; hot coals and smoldering fireworks in the garbage.

When a truck dumps a garbage can with hot coals, a fire can quickly ignite in the garbage load. The coals may have appeared spent when the resident tossed them in the garbage, but the action of dumping stirs the coals and they can flare.

Case in point, earlier this month one of our drivers smelled smoke and had to immediately dump the load in the middle of a street, away from cars, before any other part of his truck caught fire. With all the hydraulic oil and other fluids used in the City trucks, fire is extremely dangerous. After the Sacramento Fire Department extinguished the blaze, a lot went into the clean-up to remove the now “toasted” garbage.

During July, the same issues can occur with fireworks which can continue to smolder after use.  Please take precautions and do the following before putting coals or used fireworks in the garbage:

  1. Completely wet down coals or spent fireworks with water immediately after they have been used
  2. Leave the wet coals and fireworks outside for at least 24 hours, do not leave inside a building or a garbage container
  3. Put in the garbage only after the used coals and fireworks have been soaked and outside for at least 24 hours.

Unused fireworks should be treated as Hazardous Waste and taken to one of the local drop off facilities for free.