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Deceiving... this smoldering patch of ground was only minutes away from breaking into flame...
General News · 24th May 2019
Amanda and Barry Glickman
Warning to everyone to be very careful this summer! We had a horrible shock yesterday when we arrived back home after, rather ironically, giving a workshop on emergency radio. Someone working at the house was very concerned about a strong smell of smoke they had been experiencing. We looked around the property and found nothing. We were about to brush it off as the residual smell from the currently inactive woodstove, when I caught something out of the corner of my eye. A black patch and a bit of smoke on the garden dirt beside the house. It wasn't obvious, but when I walked over, there was clearly something smoldering a few centrimeters below the ground. Sure enough... smoldering organic matter ready to burst into flames. It was quickly extinguished and we dug down a few inches to make sure it was really out. The ground was red hot.

Although not positive, we believe the potential fire was started by the ashes of a visiting smoker - not the cigarette butt as the individual was quite conscientious of this. We have seen fire go underground during our summer sailing trips at kayak camps where the evening fire had not been properly extinguised. In this particular case, we were very lucky. With yesterday's wind, if we had been delayed a few hours and someone wasn't working on the property and insistent that there was a problem, I may not be sitting here at my desk writing this today.

Remember... your accident could cost the entire community their homes. Be extra careful with potential fire starters such as glass and reflectors that can serve as magnifiers, cigarette ashes (not just butts), solvent rags, gasoline, and any other potential fire starters. We're all in this together, so please exercise extra caution and remind your visitors how vulnerable we are here.
EGADS!
Comment by Heather Bruce on 26th May 2019
That was really scary to read about....Years ago, I heard that even contained small fires can travel underground on small, dry roots and pop up elsewhere....kind of like a wick.....or a fuse.....YIPES! really, REALLY scary. Thanks for posting this as a reminder of how careful we need to be to be sure that we source the origination of the smell of smoke!
Thank you
Comment by Katz on 24th May 2019
Thanks for the warning Amanda.