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Mulch Fire

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Davis TLC, May 8, 2001.

  1. This is news story from Nashville:

    May 7, 2001

    Investigators believe spontaneous combustion sparked a fire that destroyed a Nashville mulch company over the weekend. Flames could be seen for miles as tons of mulch went up in smoke yesterday. Dozens of firefighters worked for seven hours to bring the blaze under control.

    At one point flames and smoke became so intense three firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion. Investigators say mulch is mixed with fly ash, which is coal dust and that can ignite spontaneously. They recommend if you have mulch in your garden you periodically wet it down to prevent it from igniting in the same manner.

    This appears to be the Black/Midnight mulch that caught fire. Just thought I'd pass this along.
  2. eskals

    eskals LawnSite Member
    Posts: 210

    When you say Black/Midnight mulch, do you mean the black dyed stuff?


  3. stslawncare

    stslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    from DE
    Posts: 1,484

    yes we have gotten plenty of field/mulch/etc fires this season. have never heard of it igniting by itself though, would be interested in hearing more about this. i am sure if it gets direct sunlight for a full day a couple days in a row it can get very hot, but to the point of igniting? now if a spark was there then of course.
  4. Eric,

    This is mulch where they add the "fly ash" to give it the black color. They even use ground charcoal from a distillery here as well. Not sure how mulch black dye if any they add to it. I do know the pH is very low on most of this black mulch here. I've seen places where it has been used that the only thing left was the ground coal/charcoal, all the wood product has decomposed. I use the dark brown mulch myself, though I have one customer that has requested the black for her front yard landscaping. I do charge more for the black to be installed.
  5. Grateful11

    Grateful11 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 177

    Same thing can happen with wet hay. My neighbor lost his barn and hay last year because of SC. They had a problem with this Charlotte after Hurricane Hugo came thru. They ground all the trees up at the old city landfill and it caught fire and smoldered for what I think was weeks.
  6. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,211

    During a drought that we had 2 years ago I put out a couple of fires in mulch beds. One was a Burger King while stopping for lunch and another was at a shopping mall. Both appeared to me to be started with discarded cigarettes, one was still lit.
  7. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    A torch in a flowerbed can do it too. :rolleyes:
  8. Lawngeek

    Lawngeek Guest
    Posts: 0

    this is normal and has nothing to do w the type of mulch if the pile is big enough and hasnt been moved decomposition will heat it up to the point of fire its just bad management in dry conditions

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