There is nothing in local fire codes that prevents using pine straw as mulch, but fire officials recommend not using it close to buildings because it can dry out and become a fire risk that could set a structure on fire.
“We recommend you put non-combustible materials, such as decorative rock,” said Battalion Chief Herman Born of the Wilmington Fire Department Division of Fire and Life Safety.
Other types of wood mulch can also ignite, so it should be kept moist, he said.
Born said the department has seen about half a dozen fires recently that resulted in substantial damage from fires that started in pine straw mulch beds. Stray cigarettes and embers from grills are common ignition sources.
Some cities in North Carolina have enacted ordinances that restrict the use of combustible mulch close to buildings, and Born said the idea has been under discussion here.
Date posted: October 13, 2009