It might seem convenient at the time, but snuffing out cigarettes in flower pots can be very dangerous.
A recent apartment fire in Madison that was started when someone attempted to put out a cigarette in a potted plant highlights the danger of potting soil. Glen Loyd of the State Department of Consumer Protection says there might not have been a fire danger if the pot had been full of dirt, but this potting soil contained Peat Moss .
"It isn't soil. It's mostly man-made material that can burn. And on a day like today a lot of flower pots are just drying up and they're ready to burn if you put a cigarette in them."
Pete Moss is used in potting soil to hold water but it's highly flammable if it gets too dry. Despite the danger, Loyd says there aren't their any warnings on the packages.
"You would think that a warning might be appropriate, but a lot of people around the country don't realize the problem. If you do an Internet search, you're going to find very few fires that are gonna be attributed to potting soil."
A fire in Wisconsin's capitol city two weeks ago started in a planter on a deck and spread to the attic. No one was inured, but damage to the apartment is estimated to be 3-and-a-half-million-dollars. Madison fire department spokesperson Lori Worth says cigarettes are the leading cause of fatal fires in the nation.
(Jennifer Miller, WIBA, contributed to this article.)