Spontaneous combustion is real, at least when it comes to compost heaps.
Large commercial compost heaps of over 12 feet tall can become dangerous if not properly maintained, says Lauren Hammond, spokesperson for Austin's solid waste services department.
She says, the conditions have to be "just right" for a pile to self-ignite.
The record triple digit heat we've been experiencing can raise the temperature of a compost pile above 160 degrees. Mix that with the various gasses that are released from decomposition and the abundance of dry organic material, and you could have a real fire hazard on your hands.
Though most residential compost piles are no where near 12 feet tall, Hammond says, they still need to be maintained and monitored weekly.