It’s been a busy week for the Langford Fire Rescue, for the most disheartening reason.
Despite widespread warnings to do the opposite, pedestrians and drivers in the heart of Langford have been habitually throwing their cigarette butts on the ground.
- Saanich motorist issued $575 ticket after tossing lit cigarette from his vehicle
- Reckless Victoria driver throws lit cigarette into open window of another car
Since Wednesday, June 19th, discarded cigarette butts have caused 6 fires in the city, with the most recent incident happening yesterday, June 23rd in a cedar hedge right next to a gas station near the intersection Jacklin Rd and Jenkins Ave.
Luckily, vigilant people nearby doused the fire with buckets of water and fire extinguishers before firefighters arrived on site and used more water to make sure there was no more risk of flames.
According to Cpt. Paul Obersteller of Langford Fire Rescue, dry and windy conditions can carry a loose cigarette butt to flower beds and areas with bark mulch, and there ignite fires.
“There’s no real excuse for it”
“Sometimes it just seems to be a spurt of the human caused fires that happen in a row. Then there’ll be lull, but it definitely picks up again especially when the ground starts to dry out,” Cpt. Obersteller told Victoria Buzz.
“It’s so hard to find someone that’s caused it, unless someone actually witnesses another person throwing out a cigarette butt.”
As a deterrent, the fire department has been installing signs like the one shown above wherever they find cigarette-caused fires.
“There’s no real excuse for it, there are solutions,” adds Cpt. Obersteller in reference to throwing cigarette butts in public.
“You don’t have to throw it in garden beds. You can get small travel ashtrays, and there’s one you can put in cars now.”
According to him, even ground that has been watered tends to dry out by mid-afternoon, leaving hedges and flower beds vulnerable to even the smallest spark.
So keep those cigarette butts to yourself, folks.