Saturday, July 18, 2015

British Columbia says "Butt Out"

Across the west, forest fires are a huge problem this year.  The BC government is exploring ways to engage the public in the effort to deter accidental fires.  How about this one - impounding cars whose occupants throw cigarette butts out the window?

The B.C. government said in a news release they are considering harsher punishments for careless people who start wildfires, including impounding cars for tossing cigarette butts out of the window.

“We must send a clear message to those that carelessly start wildfires that their behaviour will not be tolerated,” states the release.

“Should we double the fine for failing to extinguish a campfire? Should we ban those who break campfire bans from using our provincial parks? Should we impound the vehicles of those who flick lit cigarette butts from their car windows?”

Firefighter crews in B.C. have responded to 1,083 forest fires this summer, compared to 523 at this time last year. Of those, one-third are human caused, which amounts to 375 fires and more than 48,000 hectares in flames.

“It’s often said that you can’t legislate against stupidity, but if exploring the idea of harsher penalties for careless acts means more people get the message, we must do it.”

The tinder dry conditions and unusually hot summer have lead to the increased risk of forest fires throughout the province.

“Naturally occurring fires from sources like lightning are difficult enough for our dedicated firefighters to handle. If we’re going to continue to ask them to put their lives on the line to keep people and property safe, we need to do everything we can to end behaviours that lead to needless wildfires.”

I don't know but it sounds like a plan to me.


Anonymous said...

How about this for a plan...outlaw tailor made cigarettes because they have something added to them to keep them burning. The cans of tobacco you buy to roll your own never used to have this chemical in it. Loggers weren't allowed tailor mades in the bush because of that fact, the rollies would go out if you didn't keep puffing on them. April to October meant no factory made cigarettes in the forest, the smokers had to roll their own. So lets outlaw this crap, make smokers roll their own cancer sticks and while we're at it lets get rid of the all polluting filters. Probably 50% of smokers would quit tomorrow!! Throw this back in the laps of the tobacco firms, give them notice now and in the meantime send them the fire fighting bills for cigarette-caused forest fires. Hit their bottom line and hit it hard.

Troy Thomas said...

BC Forests ministry needs to get its shit together, to be honest.
Yes, it'd be nice if they started doing this, impounding cars of careless smokers, but, do they even have the manpower to do so? Are they competent enough to get this done, properly?
The ministry is gutted, and has no actual plan for combating this year's fires. It's like they were caught flatfooted.
I look around, and see dozens and of local fire fighters out of work, and yet there's more fires this year already than in previous years.
It'll take years for BC to get its Forests ministry back to par, where towns, livelihoods, and even lives can be protected, properly, from what should have always remained a priority under Clark (and Campbell).
I know local firefighters who won't go back, at any price, because of how angry they are with the ministry.

Anonymous said...

There was a time when unemployed loggers went fighting fires. They had the physical conditioning to handle the work and knew the areas well. Now they sit around on EI while they bring in "fire fighters" from around the world????