Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?
Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    15

    Default Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    When I was beekeeping last, I kept my smoker on top of one of the beehives. As I was taking out a frame, I looked up and to my horror, there was a ring of fire ahead of me, about a meter/couple of feet in diameter. I ran and fetched my fire extinguisher and put it out. The fire was then catching on again, I realised that in such short time it had made embers which was hot and causing it to light up again, so I grabbed my 20 liter/5 galleon drum of water and poured it all over the area, completely smoldering it.

    I didn't go anywhere near where the fire started. The only way I figure it could have started, is if something hot spat out the smoker, which sent it flying about 5 meters away, causing the area to be set ablaze. Can a smoker do this? I did use a small bunch of toilet paper to start the smoker, and I do vaguely recall reading that using paper to light a smoker can cause it to spit out hot embers.

    I have a stainless steel bucket. I figure if a smoker can cause a fire like that, then I ought to not leave it out on top of a hive and instead, drop it in the bucket when not using it.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    BeeSource.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,793

    Default Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    I keep some green grass on top of the fuel in my smoker and watch like a hawk. Having a five gallon container of water is good. I see no location for you but in the heat of summer in Great Falls the humidity is lower than in the boards in the ugly board store. Fires can start explosively. Good job and yes smokers can start fires!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    I'm in Australia very low humidity here and files start explosively, it's very concerning. I'll keep that in mind about the green grass, although there wasn't any green grass around as it's too dry where I'm at.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,443

    Default Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    Smokers certainly have the potential to start fires. The last thing I add to mine after loading it up is a wad of damp grass - that reduces the risk of flying embers and also adds to the smoke output.

    Some kind of metal container (ammunition box ?) would be a good idea for anyone wanting to carry a recently used smoker in a vehicle.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    ElDorado,Arkansas,USA
    Posts
    1,580

    Default Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    In almost 40 years of beekeeping I have never seen a smoker start a fire but I am not saying they cant I am just saying that I have not seen seen one start a fire.Man they can get extremely hot and they do worry me when it starts to get dry.I watch carefully during those times.I put out my ashes good to make sure none of it catches up.What worries me the most is lighting one up and a little flame jumps out at first.A little pine straw flops out and it dry around you and you can get a flair up on the ground.I have fought grass fires before and its not fun and at almost 70 I cant fight them like I could when I was 30.I hope I never get the chance to see a smoker start a fire.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    445

    Default Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    I have had an ember come out, noticed the grass under the hive was beginning to smoke. Got it stomped out before any damage done. Also had the wife place the smoker directly on a pallet I was using for a hive stand. Burned a ring into the pallet. I always carry it in a galvanized ash bucket with rocks in the bottom to keep it from turning over easily.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    6,586

    Default Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    Green grass on top of your fuel to catch any sparks, as Vance suggests, is always a good idea. In very dry, low moisture conditions we carry a 5 gallon bucket with a couple of burlap bags soaking inside for emergency fire fighting.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,295

    Default Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    heck yes they can start a fire. i've seen differences with the type of fuel. I use animal bedding pine shavings and if not packed down or covered with a wet material it will shoot embers. really shows in the evening if doing bee stuff as it gets dark. I have hives next to hay fields and when it gets really dry i don't even light it up. No way do i want to be responsible for burning the place to the ground.
    Terrence

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Milford, Michigan USA
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    I put a wad of wet burlap on top of my fuel as a filter.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,897

    Default Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    A smoker is definitely a fire hazard - no IFs or BUTs and regardless of fuel.
    It just is.
    What if you accidentally knock the smoker over and burning fuel spills out (now matter how great your fuel is)?
    There is a very real chance for that.

    I am very afraid to inspect hives in my out yards this time of a year - dry grass is every where and the weather is windy often.
    I wonder of my stupidity sometimes (if things go bad, your gallon of water or a blanket will help nothing).


    Point in case - entire small village burned in my area where I grew up.
    The cause - a forgotten, burning smoker.
    It really can get so bad.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    253

    Default

    I think smoker ashes is where the big risk is. Too easy to dump it on something that will smolder and combust some time later. I keep a small steel trash can with tight lid that dump my ash into. The can sits in a cement slab. can also does double duty to store oily rags from my woodworking (not at the same time, that would be dumb)

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    York, York County, SC
    Posts
    290

    Default Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

    Cut a piece of metal window screen about 1.5 inches square and push it up into the nozzle. Place a rag over the screen and use a blunt piece of wood like a hammer handle to push it up further into the nozzle. That spark arrester will help.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •