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Author Topic: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?  (Read 465 times)

Offline TheFuzz

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Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?
« on: April 18, 2019, 02:19:10 am »
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.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2019, 06:32:49 am »
Fuzz,
I answered your question about flames coming out of the back of a smoker on your other thread. I would stop using tissues to light it.
Do you fill the smoker and then light it or do you light a small amount of material and then slowly pack the smoker?
Always do the latter. The first smoker is a flame thrower.
Bee sure to pack it full after you light it. The material on top acts as a filter and cools the smoke as well as keeping the embers inside the smoker.
Jim Altmiller

Offline TheFuzz

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Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2019, 09:52:53 am »
I usually use newspaper to light it which seems just as bad as tissues if not worse. I can go fetch bags of pine needles which I'm told work best.

I usually light a small amount and then add to it. I tend to smolder it and put it out otherwise.

I didn't know that about packing full afterwards. I usually do try and pack it full simply to give it extra material to burn.

Online Michael Bush

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Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2019, 10:13:28 am »
>Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?

They certainly can depending on the fuel and how much you're pumping the bellows...
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2019, 10:16:17 am »
He is a copy of my:

How to light a smoker.
If you have pine trees, pick up a large double handful of them.
Take a small amount of the needles, roll them up and light the end. Use your hive tool to push them into your smoker, lightly. Puff it until it is shooting flames out of the top of the open smoker.
Take another larger handful of needles and roll them up real tight and push them in the smoker with your hive tool (HT). Then while puffing it push it down tight with your HT.  Do this again to pack it real tight.
Keep puffing while packing. Fill it full and close the lid. It will last for about 4 hours or more. At about 4 hours you will need to pack it tight again.
This makes the smoke coming out real cool and prevents any flames from coming out of the top.
Good luck.
Jim Altmiller

Offline JConnolly

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Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2019, 07:38:53 pm »
Once I have a smoker lit the last thing I do before closing the lid is to grab a handful of green grass or green leaves, wad them up, and stuff them into the lid funnel spout.  It doesn't take much.  The green grass/leaves will cool the smoke and quench any embers, making sure you only blow cool smoke and aren't going to accidentally burn any delicate wings.

I'm going to suggest an alternate method of lighting the smoker.  Get yourself a self igniting torch.  Go ahead and pack the unlit smoker well with fuel.  Make a hole in the packed fuel and stick the torch tip down in it close to the bottom.  Pull the trigger on the torch and count to five.  Your smoker will be lit.  Give it several puffs and you're lit without wasting time.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2019, 12:03:50 am »
J,
If you can make a hole in the pine needles to light the bottom, your smoker is not packed very tight. When I get done packing my smoker, use it for an hour, put it out, I have a hard time putting the hive tool into the unburnt packed needles to pull them out and relight it for the next session.
Packing the needles tight helps to filter the smoke and cool it.
A properly packed smoker can sit lit for 4 to 5 hours.
Jim Altmiller e

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2019, 07:24:00 am »
I basically do as Jim, as far as rolling the needles up tightly into a ball three to four times, stacking, packing, and puffing as I add. One difference, I use a torch to get it started, which may not be very safe. Another thing that I do differently is. I gather a bucket full of pine needles ,packed, and sprinkle a small amount of water on top, then make sure the bucket is tightly sealed. I do this at least a day or so before use.  This adds just enough moisture to help the needles burn off even slower than completely dry ones, yet they still easily stay lit. Now I am not talking drenching them socking wet, but just enough to add a slight bit of moisture. This really works well if you place the sealed bucket in the sun as it works as a steamer to get the job done. However, I always place completely dry needles as Jim describes tightly rolled up inside for the start up.
Phillip

Offline b2bnz

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Re: Do smokers spit out embers that can cause fires?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2019, 01:25:13 am »
I made a modification to my smoker to prevent and sparks coming out while working the bellows.
I drilled a 10 mm hole near the bottom of the fire box just above the internal grate. Made a small flap to cover the hole a fixed with a self tapping screw so I could close the hole after lighting. Pack the smoker with your favourite material and pack green grass ontop of the smoker fuel. Using a small blow torch, light the smoker material through the hole sothat you are lighting from the bottom of the material. This will result in cool clean smoke and no posibility of flames while working the bellows.