The Saint John Fire Department wants citizens to be aware of the danger
posed by mulch used in landscaping. Bark mulch, commonly used as ground cover,
can become a fire hazard in hot and dry conditions.The fire department has seen a significant increase in the number of fires
occurring in landscaping mulch, which are particularly dangerous due to how
close they often are to homes and businesses. Fires starting in landscaping
mulch can spread into shrubbery and then to the building.
Below average rainfall, warm temperatures, extremely dry conditions and
abnormal winds all increase the risk of serious damage from mulch fires. Another
factor is smoking – most smokers are outside due to laws and facility policies.
Cigarettes, cigars and matches discarded into landscaped areas could start a
Reduce the risk of fire – follow these guidelines:
Remember: hot and dry conditions in the summer months may create the ideal
condition for a fire. Protect your property – keep your mulch moist.
- If you smoke, use the provided receptacles to discard your smoking material
- Provide a minimum of an 18-inch clearance between landscaping mulch beds and
combustible building materials. Ensure proper clearance to electric devices,
such as decorative lights, by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Keep landscaping mulch beds moist if possible.
- If you see anything smoking in a landscaped bed, put it out if you can and
report it to someone inside the building. If the burning material is not
thoroughly wet or removed, it may re-ignite.
- Grounds maintenance crews should be aware of the conditions that are
favorable for mulch fires and increase surveillance of mulch beds in the
afternoon when fires are more likely to occur.
- Provide proper receptacles for smoking materials at all entrances to public
buildings and in designated smoking areas. Do not use mulch in or near these