Editorial: A hot butt-on issue

Here it is, the first week of July. Summer isn’t yet two weeks old and already, we’re in the midst of a heatwave with no end in sight.

Could it be that the relentlessly hot weather is making our brains soft?

Is there another possible explanation why, despite the fact that temperatures have been lingering in the high 20s or low 30s for what feels like forever and despite the lack of rain and resulting in desert-like conditions, people are still flicking their butts?

Never mind that carelessly discarded cigarettes are litter and are, therefore, disgusting. Under the right conditions — exactly the conditions, coincidentally, that British Columbians find themselves in at the moment — they have almost unlimited potential for destruction.

What we can only hope is a small minority of smokers are giving what is already a widely reviled habit, an even worse name.

Whether they’re flicked out the window of a car, or dropped and given a half-hearted turn of a heel during a walk, cigarette butts are being discarded  without, apparently, so much as a second thought to the property, lives or safety of everyone around them.

In Langley last weekend, it was a tossed cigarillo that ignited a cedar hedge and melted the side of a house.

And it could have been so much worse.

It’s a problem, of course, for City and Township fire crews, who have to gear up and battle searing hot flames in 30-plus degree weather.

But it’s a much bigger issue than that.

Even before summer officially arrived last week, the province had all but tapped out its wildfire fighting budget for the  entire year. Dry lightning storms in the Interior continue to ignite  parched vegetation, leaving crews scrambling.

Mother Nature doesn’t need any help from humans in that department. But she’s getting it anyway.

June’s unrelenting dry heat was certainly out of character for the typically cool and soggy month, but this is hardly the first stretch of hot weather British Columbians have  ever seen.  We know better.