Alberta man frustrated with people throwing cigarette butts from vehicles
Wayne Dick confronted a passenger of a truck stopped in a long line of vehicles waiting for a crash scene to be cleared near Welling, in southern Alberta last week.
He said he saw the man toss a cigarette butt out the window.
“I went around and picked up the cigarette butt and I could see in the grass, it already started burning,” Dick said. “I just went up to their truck, I can’t really remember what I said but I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant.
“I just pinched the cigarette butt out in their window and dropped it in their truck.
“I said, ‘come on guys, grow up’ and I started walking away. I figured that would be it but they opened their door and asked me if I had a problem and that’s when I did have a problem.”
Dick is a former volunteer firefighter and has seen first-hand the devastating consequences.
“You see it every year, especially this time of year, with people’s carelessness, the amount of fires that happen because people are just not thinking.”
Fire bans, even closures, span across southern Alberta, putting law enforcement on high alert.
Staff Sgt. Glenn Henry with the Coaldale RCMP said everyone needs to do their part to prevent fires.
“From a legal perspective, there is a number of issues, there is a number of provincial acts in regards to littering that can be imposed upon people.”
Willow Creek passed a bylaw this year dealing directly with fire bans. Pitching a lit cigarette out the window could cost you anywhere from $500 to $10,000.
Coalhurst Fire Chief Mathew Conte added the constant calls pile up on his volunteer department.
“Members are leaving their home lives, work or whatever may be going on at that time [to respond to] these fires, so it does add up, especially when we get multiple fires day after day. Especially during work hours, we are finding members can’t exactly leave work every day anymore to come to calls.”
And with no rain in the forecast, the threat of fire won’t be snuffed out anytime soon.
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