One of the brushfires extinguished by concerned truck drivers and then made safe by Central Saanich Fire Department. (Photo from Central Saanich Fire Department)

One of the brushfires extinguished by concerned truck drivers and then made safe by Central Saanich Fire Department. (Photo from Central Saanich Fire Department)

‘Irresponsible’ cigarette tossing blamed for two brushfires on Pat Bay highway

Fires could have started from any of the "dozens" of discarded cigarettes, says chief

  • Jun. 26, 2019 12:00 a.m.

Central Saanich Fire Department were called to two active brushfires before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, both caused by discarded cigarettes.

The fires both occurred on the Patricia Bay Highway, with Central Saanich Fire Chief Chris Vrabel branding the acts “highly irresponsible.”

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“We received a call of active brushfires on the east side of the Pat Bay Highway,” he says. “Initially, we dispatched four vehicles and on arrival we found that civilians, truck operators, had partly extinguished the fires.”

Vrabel said that the fire crews inspected the area in an attempt to work out what caused the fires.

“We try to determine the causes of fires and we were immediately suspicious they were due to the improper disposal of smoking materials,” he says. Vrabel adds that they were unable to pinpoint which cigarette started the fire, as disconcertingly, there were “dozens” of cigarette butts in each area.

With the drier weather and a scorching summer predicted, fire fighters warn that brush is like a tinderbox and can quickly catch alight.

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“There are many smoking products for in-vehicle disposal of cigarettes,” says Vrabel. “Given the dry conditions, people should absolutely not discard cigarettes out their windows.”

For more information visit www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status.


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