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Butts cause few fires

Butts cause few fires

Postby ferri » Oct 26th, 2017, 5:24 am

Perception does not always equal reality.

Take forest fires for example. The perception for most is human caused fires in the province mean, more often than not, a fire caused by the careless discarding of a cigarette butt from a moving vehicle or in the forest.

According to figures from the BC Wildfire Service, that couldn't be further from the truth.



https://www.castanet.net/news/BC/209987 ... -few-fires
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby youjustcomplain » Oct 26th, 2017, 6:26 am

Without seeing their stats, I don't know how many of those fires have an ignition source of "unknown". All, none or some of those unknown fire causes will be due to cigarettes that were destroyed in the fire.

The low number of cigarette caused fires is hard to believe, but I won't argue the stats. But, what is the percentage of interface fires started by cigarettes relative to other ignition sources? How many road side fires are started that way?

I do understand that lightning is a huge source of "wildfires", but many of those fires are in the middle of nowhere in the province and I don't think anyone actually blames smokers for those.

Anyhow, I'll continue to be angry with smokers who toss their cigarettes out the window of their car. I don't care that the number of fires started that way is low, statistically.
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby Fancy » Oct 26th, 2017, 6:41 am

The percentage of fires caused by humans was 54% last year. I can imagine this year might be worse. With so many being deliberately set last year and this year it's a guess if cigarettes were or were not the cause if the accelerant can't be identified.
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby alanjh595 » Oct 26th, 2017, 8:14 am

what is the percentage of interface fires started by cigarettes relative to other ignition sources? How many road side fires are started that way?


One of the lowest causes, he said, was the careless discarding, or extinguishing, of cigarettes or other smoking materials.

Those amounted to only about four per cent.

https://www.castanet.net/edition/news-s ... htm#209987
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby Fancy » Oct 26th, 2017, 8:21 am

We know cigarettes cause major fires (that's been proven) but it would be interesting to note how many roadside fires were caused by something else.
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby youjustcomplain » Oct 26th, 2017, 11:48 am



I think you misunderstood my question, or I didn't write it clearly.

I'm asking about interface fires. Not just fires on the side of the road. I guess the two are often one in the same, but not always.
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby Woodenhead » Oct 26th, 2017, 12:12 pm

Please re-frame the questions & data to fit within my bias.
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby Poindexter » Oct 27th, 2017, 7:07 am

I suppose one way to reframe the question is asking instead, what percentage of preventable fires were human caused?

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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby Fancy » Oct 27th, 2017, 7:09 am

54% last year
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby Poindexter » Oct 27th, 2017, 7:42 am

Even if we use the report the way it's presented, 4% of 17,000 fires is 680 fires that were caused by smokers. 680 fires can obviously cause alot of damage and I would imagine they're statistically more likely to occur near populated areas thus increasing the cost to fight. So it would be a misrepresentation of the information in this report to diminish the impact discarded butts have during fire season.
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby kgcayenne » Oct 27th, 2017, 9:20 am

Media ticked-off the cig companies this year, methinks.
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby Glacier » Oct 27th, 2017, 2:54 pm

Fancy wrote:54% last year

And 68% in 2011. When we have a low amount of lightning activity like we did last year and in 2011, we have fewer lightning fires, which means that the number of human fires make up a higher percentage. In other words, lightning fires are much more viable while humans will be humans every year.

This year also had very few fires (the 2nd lowest in 15 years) thanks to lower than average lightning activity, so I will go out on a limb and predict that human caused fires make up 50% again this year.

We have very few fires this year (774 fires compared to the average of 1,844), but the fires we did have were YUGE.
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Re: Butts cause few fires

Postby Woodenhead » Oct 29th, 2017, 1:13 am

Where can one find a better breakdown of forest fire causes, online? I mean, human vs. natural is way too vague. Case in point: http://bcfireinfo.for.gov.bc.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/OneFire.asp?ID=607

Cause: Human Caused
The fire started from a tree falling on to a power line.


I get the classification, but(t) at the same time, it's yet another example of "Statistics are like bikinis: what they reveal is intriguing, but what they hide is crucial."
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