Grass fire ig­nited by care­lessly dis­carded cig­a­rette

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Submitted

RCMP are call­ing on all smok­ers to keep their cig­a­rette butts to them­selves af­ter yet an­other grass fire was ig­nited by a care­lessly dis­carded cig­a­rette.

On Oc­to­ber 29 at 3:20 p.m., Beiseker RCMP re­sponded to a 911 call re­port­ing a grass fire in the ditch along High­way 9, north of Keoma. Fire­fight­ers from Beiseker, Cross­field, Ir­ri­cana and Rock­yview County scram­bled to gain con­trol of the fire in se­verely windy and dry con­di­tions.

The fire spread rapidly and was blown east­ward by strong winds. Nearby farm­ers and res­i­dents of the Tscheder Hut­terite Colony were able to use farm equip­ment and cre­ate fire bar­ri­ers which pre­vented the fire from reach­ing any nearby farm­yards and res­i­dences.

Af­ter the fire was ex­tin­guished, RCMP and Fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors were able to lo­cate the source of the fire, a cig­a­rette butt along the shoul­der of High­way 9 near Range Road 270.

The past few months have been ex­cep­tion­ally dry and as a re­sult there have been a num­ber of for­est fires and grass fires in south­ern Al­berta.

“We’ve lost farms, houses, pets, live­stock and in­fra­struc­ture to fires al­ready; and, the great­est loss of all, a vol­un­teer fire­fighter from Cy­press County was killed while fight­ing a fire this fall", says Cor­po­ral Cur­tis Peters, Me­dia Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer for South­ern Al­berta.

"This is now the sec­ond fire that we know was caused by a cig­a­rette butt. Both of these were com­pletely pre­ventable. We need peo­ple to get the mes­sage and STOP toss­ing their butts out of ve­hi­cles.”

In ad­di­tion to the psy­cho­log­i­cal con­se­quences that caus­ing a fire would im­pose, there are also le­gal and civil ac­tions that a per­son could face in­clud­ing: A fine for lit­ter­ing, crim­i­nal charges such as mis­chief or crim­i­nal neg­li­gence, or civil fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity for costs as­so­ci­ated to the fire re­sponse and re­pairs.

If mem­bers of the pub­lic see a fire, they should call 911.

If they see some­one throw­ing a cig­a­rette butt out of a ve­hi­cle, they should con­tact their lo­cal po­lice and not en­gage in a con­fronta­tion with the per­son.

At ap­prox­i­mately 4 p.m. on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 29, cated 5 kilo­me­tres south of High­way 566 (Kathryn there was a prairie fire vis­i­ble from High­way 9 lo- Road). photo by Cas­san­dra Hous­ton

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