El Paso fire officials warn smokers the dangers of improper cigarette disposal in extreme heat

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — This extreme Borderland heat can cause a recipe for disaster if smokers aren’t being cautious of how they dispose their cigarettes.

The El Paso Fire Department said improper disposal of cigarette butts in the extreme heat and low humidity can quickly lead to fires, especially with dry vegetation.

This also can lead to not only brush fires that may threaten nearby homes, but fires happening in receptacles or flower beds.

Fire officials said year to date, there’s been twenty civilian fires in El Paso and five of them were related to smokers carelessness, “So this is beginning to be an issue and hazardous trend that we’re trying to address,” said Ruben Candelaria, Battalion Chief with EPFD and leader of the Community Risk Reduction division.

This hazardous trend is sparking more awareness to avoid these unnecessary fires, “If you’re driving, one of the worst things we see, and you’ve probably seen it too, someone flicks their cigarette. They don’t realize that’s still 800 degrees Fahrenheit that’s flying out your window. You got all the dry vegetation all around El Paso and that’s just a recipe for a brush fire,” said Candelaria.

For those who smoke at home on their patio, fire officials said it’s best to dispose cigarette butts in metal containers filled with sand or ceramic flower pots rather than plastic flower pots.

Smoking while on oxygen is also extremely dangerous as it can catch fire and quickly spread through the plastic tubes.

Fire officials remind El Pasoans other ways of avoiding fire hazards in extreme heat is to dispose of any oily rags, avoid keeping flammables exposed to the heat, and properly extinguish charcoal if you’re having a cookout.

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