Here’s something you’ll want to avoid this July 4: flaming hot garbage.

“Garbage loads can easily catch fire if residents don’t ensure hot coals and spent fireworks are doused with water and completely out before tossing them in the garbage bin,” said Erin Treadwell, Community Outreach Manager with the City’s Recycling and Solid Waste Division.

When a truck dumps a garbage can with hot coals in it, a fire can quickly ignite. 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.

If fire erupts in the truck hopper, a driver must act quickly to dump the load in the middle of a street, away from cars, and before any other part of the truck catches fire. The Sacramento Fire Department will respond to extinguish the blaze, and then there is a complicated clean-up to remove the “toasted” garbage.

Please take the following precautions before putting coals or used fireworks in the garbage:

  1. Wet down coals or spent fireworks with water immediately after they have been used.
  2. Soak them in water for at least 24 hours; do not leave them inside a building.
  3. Put them in the garbage only if you have followed steps 1 and 2.