Victoria police chief nabs smoker who threw lit cigarette out of his car
A 21-year-old Vancouver Island man driver has been slapped with a $575 fine under the Wildfire Act after flicking his lit cigarette out of the window of his Mustang.
Victoria Police Chief Del Manak was driving behind the man when on Highway 17 he saw a still burning smoke thrown out adding he saw it roll along the road.
The chief was in an unmarked vehicle and said he couldn't believe his eyes.
"I actually was disgusted by it," Manak told journalists on Monday. I don't have any time for people who carry on with this behaviour."
Currently the fire danger rating on the South Coast is moderate or high, and Manak said the dry conditions are what prompted him to pull over the driver.
Manak called the actions irresponsible but said the driver's response had him so taken aback, he posted about the interaction on Twitter.
The tweet read in part, "575 reasons to not throw your lit cigarette out of the car window."
"(I) asked him why he flicked his cigarette out and shockingly to me, he made the comment that 'I don't want my car to burn,'" said Manak.
With a lengthy wildfire season forecasted for the province, officers are trying to stomp out this type of behaviour.
At the same time, researchers are warning climate change will lead to drier conditions.
"The warmer it gets, the more fires we see," said Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta.
He believes while there are many factors increasing the risk of fires, climate change is the biggest one.
"Unless we see increases in precipitation to compensate for this drying effect, our fuels will be drier," Flannigan told CTV News Channel. "Drier fuels means it's easier for fires to start, easier for fires to spread and means there's more fuel to burn and it means there's more high intensity fires and high intensity fires are difficult to impossible to put out."
According to the ministry of forests, in 2018 277 fire-related violation tickets were issued by natural resource officers and conservation officers. Of those, 11 were for those who mishandled a burning substance, the same offence the Saanich driver was ticketed for.
In September 2018, Manak said he encountered another driver on the same stretch of highway also throwing a burning butt out of a car window.
He wrote an $81 ticket for littering and a speeding ticket. This time, he's upping the ante, hoping everyone who smokes gets the message.
"You need to extinguish your cigarettes properly," Manak added.