Wildfires occur naturally through lightning, but in British Columbia and the rest of Canada, more and more fires are being caused by humans throwing smoking material on the ground. In 2018, there was a total of 2,920 wildfires , just in BC in British. These fires burned more than 1 million acres of land. Nearly 55 per cent of all forest fires are caused by humans with unattended campfires and discarded cigarettes being the main causes.
Wildfires do not only affect the forests, they also produce toxic smoke that can have a significant impact on local air quality, visibility, and human health. When this harmful smoke is inhaled into the lungs, it can can inflame your lungs and your your airway, causing them to swell and block oxygen flow. Emissions from wildfires are also able to travel large distances and produce harmful effects far away from the fires initial location. The smoke from Canadian wildfires have even been documented as far as Ireland, affecting their air quality.
The biggest way we can lower the risk of creating wildfires is to be responsible when discarding your partially lit cigarettes or other smoking materials. The most way that fires start is that somebody throws away their lit smoking material in a bush, waits a few seconds and then walks away thinking that it is okay.
When the material is tossed, it generally doesn’t start the fire right away, it sits in the vegetation, drying out it’s surroundings. The embers smoulder and get the fuel around it warm before it ignites. By the time the fire starts, the person who initially threw the cigarette is long gone, and unable to report the fire before it is able to spread.
The best and most responsible way to dispose of a cigarette or other smoking material is to i put it out on an ashtray or other appropriate receptacle. Not putting it out on the ground, in the vegetation and not out of your car window.