Smokers who have thrown their cigarette butts into flowerpots and vegetable gardens have caused 126 fires in Montreal since the start of the year for a total of $ 1,226,110 in damage.
For the same period in 2019, 55 fires had caused damage of $ 35,050, the Montreal Fire Safety Service (SIM) revealed on Thursday.
The SIM notes that the materials used in plant potting mixes, such as peat or sphagnum moss, are flammable. An extinguished cigarette butt in this potting soil can easily cause a fire.
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It can take between four and five hours between the moment a cigarette is crushed and the appearance of a first flame, which can then be communicated to a terrace, a balcony or even a home.
“Citizens must be vigilant when they put out their cigarettes, both indoors and outdoors. Especially since the episodes of oppressive heat that we have been experiencing since the beginning of the summer accentuate the risks of this type of fire, ”mentioned the prevention spokesperson for the SIM, Louise Desrosiers.
The SIM recommends that citizens keep flower pots and flower beds moist in hot weather, use an ashtray suitable for outdoors and sheltered from the wind and, if necessary, have a box of preserves having a good depth which one fills with wet sand or water to extinguish the cigarette butts.