Langford fire officials say they’ve dealt with five cigarette-caused fires in as many days as temperatures rise across Greater Victoria.
In a post on social media, the fire department said that the five separate fires it has responded to were all preventable — and all caused by discarded smoking materials.
“We’re finding a lot of them in places where people are gathering, [like] outside condo buildings where people are smoking,” said Fire Prevention Capt. Simon Chadwick with Langford Fire Rescue.
“The fire basically channels down to the bark mulch, it can cause a quite serious fire.”
Chadwick said embers from bark mulch fires can travel as far as two kilometres and can spark even bigger fires very quickly.
“These embers can travel very fast, pick up really quite quickly in the wind, but also they travel deep on the ground, they can follow root systems and then pop up somewhere else,” he said.
That’s enough to have the fire department on edge heading into a weekend with temperatures forecast in the low 30s for Greater Victoria.
“All we can say is please, please be careful out there. If you are smoking, please don’t smoke on trails,” he said.
“If you do, if you are smoking or using any smoking materials, discard them properly and in the correct way, or just nip past the fire hall here and grab one of our disposable cigarette ashtrays and take that with you.”
The fire department is offering free reusable pocket ashtrays for smokers that anyone can pick up outside the Langford fire hall on Peatt Road.
— Langford Fire Rescue (@LangfordFire) June 23, 2021