Pitt Meadows firefighters helped maintain fire barriers in 100 Mile House recently during wildfires in the Interior.

Pitt Meadows firefighters helped maintain fire barriers in 100 Mile House recently during wildfires in the Interior.

Maple Ridge firefighters chasing grass fires

Two this week caused by tossed cigarette butts

People aren’t making it easy for the Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue service during this long, hot summer.

Fire crews had to rush to put out two small fires this week that were started by people tossing cigarette butts.

The first one started Monday afternoon in the bark mulch at Lougheed Highway and 202nd Street at 5:16 p.m. Firefighters got there quickly though and put out the blaze.

Early Wednesday, at about 5:57 a.m. , someone tossed a cigarette into the grass in the 11900-block of Cottonwood Drive starting a fire there, also put out quickly.

“It goes back to the careless nature of people. Two fires that were created by cigarette butts, are not acceptable,” said fire chief Howard Exner.

Even though they are small fires, it takes time and people, under emergency response, to put them out, he said.

“It’s a liability that we shouldn’t have to face because of the fact that somebody threw a cigarette butt into dry grass or bark mulch.”

In the past month, firefighters have responded to several complaints from people about illegal fires, in particular, involving people starting campfires on their own property. There’s a complete burning ban in place throughout Maple Ridge. Campfires are not allowed anywhere, including provincial and regional parks.

The forest fire danger rating in the area remains at extreme, and that’s not expected to change with the bit of rain forcast for Sunday.