A garbage truck fire in Christopher Creek last Thursday was the third in a string of avoidable blazes suffered by USA Waste Services.
The cause of the fires: garbage customers dumping hot ash in their dumpsters.
Melody Deaton of USA Waste Service said customers have got to become more educated about disposing their hot ashes from woodstoves and fireplaces.
With the two previous fires, drivers were forced to return to the yard, eject their load and wait for Payson firefighters to dowse the debris.
"Then, we have to rent a loader and load the truck back up," Deaton said.
This last fire was a bigger hassle, largely due to an accident that closed the highway between Christopher Creek and Payson.
"There was no place to safely eject the load out there without the risk of a forest fire," Deaton said. "We couldn't get back into town, so this fire did some major damage."
The garbage company's advice in dumping hot ash is to put it in a non-combustible container, leave it uncovered and wait at least one week before putting it in the trash bin.
For more information about hot ash disposal, contact your local garbage company or fire department.