Fire officials concerned cigarette could spark wildfire
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — It wasn’t nearly as large or destructive as the Waldo Canyon Fire, but for the 51 families who lost their homes in the Hi Meadow Fire in Jefferson County back in 2000, it was every bit as painful.
Especially when residents learned it was caused by a cigarette.
Now, fire officials in Colorado Springs are urging smokers to dispose of their cigarettes properly.
“You see people driving with their cigarettes and they flick their butt out the window. It’s never okay to do that. But right now, it’s almost unconscionable,” said Chief Rich Brown with the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
Colorado is in the midst of an extreme drought. Record heat and very little rain have made the state ripe for wildfires.
Fire officials are concerned cigarette smokers could cause even more wildfires this holiday week on U.S. Forest Service land and public parks.
We hit the streets of Denver Tuesday to talk to smokers, and found plenty of people flicking their butts wherever they wanted. Some smokers told us they never thought twice about it.
“Did you ever think that could start a fire?,” we asked one smoker. The woman, who did not want to give her name, casually told us “Yes.”
Her smoking buddy told us she could understand why fire officials were concerned and she will “throw them in the trash from now on.”
Fire officials told us even of the landscape looks green, it’s still extremely dry, even in the metro area.