Three blazes sparked by improperly discarded cigarettes in one month

Three fires caused by improperly discarded cigarettes this month have officials with Ottawa Fire issuing a reminder to the public to watch where you throw your butts.

Fire fighters tend to see more in blazes in the summer for that very reason.

"We tend to see an increase in the summer months, especially in back yards, whether it be at restaurants, in residences, especially when there's decks," said Marc Messier with Ottawa Fire. "The most popular ones that we're seeing is people discarding their cigarettes in planters, not realizing that these planters usually have peat moss or wood chips or other very ignitable material."

Messier said that's not the only way cigarettes cause fires in the summer months.

"Flower beds are the same thing," he said. "Peat moss, the rooting systems can be very dry and ignite very easily."

"We tend to see a lot of deck fires started as the result of smoking, usually because people try to find that crack that's just large enough for them to squeeze their cigarette through," Messier added.

On Thursday a fire caused by a cigarette left in a planter on Abaca way caused $700,000 worth of damage and left seven people homeless.

Fires on Reynolds and Manotick Main this month were also sparked by discarded cigarettes.

Messier said butts should be snuffed out in large, deep ashtrays that cannot be knocked over or in a large can filled with sand.

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