The recent heat wave has Langford Fire Rescue reminding residents to carefully dispose of cigarette butts and be cautious of other activities that could lead to preventable fires.
“We had such a bad year last year and the predictions are for a similar summer,” said Lance Caven, Assistant Fire Chief of fire prevention. “We could have a significant number of fires, as we did last year, if people aren’t careful.”
With the hot weather expected to last through the Victoria Day long weekend, the local department is asking residents to stop tossing their cigarette butts out windows or into garden beds and planters after a spike in preventable fires last week.
“We just want to get the word out early,” Caven said, adding the wind and heat will dry out flower beds and grass that have been flourishing through the wet winter.
Langford Fire responded to a couple preventable fires in the past week. We have some great weather right now but flower pots, planters and garden beds quickly dry out with the heat. Please use an ashtray for cigarette butts and not a garden bed #preventablefire #langford #yyj pic.twitter.com/sd83Xj2xWG
— Langford Fire Rescue (@LangfordFire) May 13, 2018
Langford Fire Rescue responded to three fires last week involving discarded cigarettes that ignited bark mulch. One of those fires was next to a drive-through and it ignited cedar hedges in the garden bed. Caven noted if those bushes had been situated differently it would have been much worse. He added he was surprised this week to see the large number of cigarette butts along another drive-through in the city.
Caven noted it’s also an unnecessary strain on local resources that need to be focusing on fires and emergencies that are not preventable.
While there aren’t any campfire bans in place yet, Caven added it’s also important for residents to be cautious of any potential for wild or other preventable fires.
“Until there’s a ban we want people to be really careful … just use caution with whatever you’re doing.”
Whether that’s being mindful of a hot exhaust on a vehicle, the potential for sparks or embers from using power tools in the yard or a campfire that hasn’t been extinguished but is left unattended, he added it’s important to have a water source or an extinguisher close by. “Just think about the potential of what you’re doing,” he said.