‘Drought’ means ‘dry’!

Dry conditions mean a discarded cigarette butt can cause a forest fire instantly, reminds letter writer.

To the Editor,

Every morning before work I set out on a walk along Faber Road and through the trails that connect it to the logging road.

Every morning I think to myself how lucky I am to have these trails in my backyard. I try to ignore the flagging tape that mark the beautiful trees for logging in the near future, and I listen to the birds and enjoy my walk in peace.

This morning it was more than just the reminder of devastating logging that threatened these beautiful woods. As I walked along Faber, a car passed me going probably 20 kilometres over the speed limit (but that is a subject for another day), and the driver flicked his cigarette butt out the window.

Immediately the peace and quiet of my walk was replaced with rage. I ran quickly to where the butt hit the ditch and stomped it out. It was lying there, in a pile of dry grass, still smoking. It was still burning from when its inconsiderate owner finished his last drag.

What part of drought doesn’t he understand? All you have to do is look at the surrounding mountains and you will see this is not your average spring on Vancouver Island.

Walk through the forest and you will hear the crunch of dry ground and moss that usually is reserved for August. The lake is prematurely low and warm, our mountains have no snow. And we haven’t had a significant rainfall in a very long time.

According to the Wildfire Management Branch in B.C., about 30 per cent of the nearly 2,000 wildfires burning in 2013 were caused by people. We can’t control Mother Nature, but we can control our own actions.

Walking home this morning, I noticed discarded cigarette butts lining the edge of the road in a surprisingly high number. So, I think maybe we need to clear something up for irresponsible smokers out there—discarded cigarette butts cause forest fires.

Actually, let me correct that. Irresponsible smokers discarding their cigarette butts cause forest fires.

Your car comes with an ashtray; I suggest you use it. Next time I might not be walking along at just the right time to stomp out your smoking butt.

Heather Thomson,

Port Alberni

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