Mulch Fires: Prevention Tips as Temperatures Rise

Spring has sprung and summer is on the horizon, which means property owners and tenants are hard at work to spruce up the exterior of their properties with flowers and new mulch. While fresh landscaping is a welcomed sight, it should come as no surprise that mulch is a combustible material, and it can be easily ignited by things like improperly discarded smoking materials. While a mulch fire outside is certainly a threat, these fires spreading to buildings is the biggest threat. To make matters worse, building smoke alarms and sprinklers won’t detect these fires until they have grown large enough to enter the building – making this a tremendous risk for both property and people.

How Mulch Fires Start 

In many mulch fires, the smoldering mulch tunnels under the surface and then breaks out into open flame. Mulch that is piled too deeply, more than a few inches, can build up heat and spontaneously catch fire.

Mulch fires start more readily when the weather is hot and it has been dry for an extended time. Factors such as below-average rainfall, dry conditions, warm temperatures, and high winds increase the risk of mulch fires.

Tips for Property Management:

Report Mulch Fires

If you see smoke coming from a landscape bed:

If the burning material is not thoroughly wet or removed, it can re-ignite. Report any smoke or fire by calling 911 and notify the management office immediately.

Be a Responsible Smoker

Simply put, smokers should remember to put it out, all the way, every time.

Storing Mulch

When storing mulch, building owners and tenants should remember:

Reach Out to a Trusted Advisor

The RCM&D Risk Consulting team stands ready to help protect your property as the seasons change and new risks emerge. Talk to a trusted advisor today for more information on fire prevention.