WELLFLEET, MASS. (WHDH) - The improper disposal of woodstove ashes is being blamed for a large brush fire that broke out along the Cape Cod Bike Trail in Wellfleet Sunday morning.

Firefighters responding to a brush fire spreading quickly on the trail around 11:30 a.m. discovered the roughly 100-feet by 60-feet brush fire immediately behind 15 Captain Bellamy Road, according to the Wellfleet Fire Department.

The flames were extinguished in about 20 minutes; however, fire personnel stayed at the scene for an additional 40 minutes to check for hotspots.

The fire did not spread to nearby homes.

The cause of the fire was determined to be the improper disposal of woodstove ashes earlier in the day by a homeowner, fire officials said.

Wellfleet Fire Chief Rich Pauley is reminding the public that woodstove ashes and coals can remain hot for several days after they are removed from a woodstove or fireplace.

“The fact is that coals and ashes may remain hot enough to start a fire for many days after you think the fire is out,” he explained. “Hot embers will remain, often buried in the ash pile and will start a fire if not properly disposed of.”

Ashes and coals should be disposed in a covered, metal container outside the residence and away from combustible materials.

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