Victoria’s police chief said he allegedly caught a man flicking a cigarette butt out his car window that earned him a $575 under the province’s Wildfire Act. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Victoria police chief hands out hefty fine to driver who flicked lit butt

VICTORIA — A “lit”terbug was issued a hefty fine after Victoria’s police chief caught him flicking a cigarette butt out his car window.

Chief Const. Del Manak said he was travelling on a highway in his unmarked police car when he noticed the driver of a Ford Mustang ahead of him toss the lit butt.

“I am driving in the curb lane, traffic was fairly light on Saturday evening and I noticed that the driver had a cigarette in his hand. He had put the ashes out the window as he’s driving and I saw that he took the last drag of the cigarette and he flicked it out his driver’s window,” he said.

“It went in the air and landed in front on the road.”

That action cost the 21-year-old driver $575 under the province’s Wildfire Act.

When the police chief asked him why he did it, the driver pointed to his cup holder saying he didn’t want his car burned, Manak said.

The drive was displaying irresponsible behaviour but responded reasonably when confronted, he said.

“I said to him, ‘You can’t flick the lit cigarette out the window. What if you start a fire, especially with some of the dry weather that we are having?’ And he said, ‘I didn’t think about that.’ “

Human activities like dropping cigarettes, open burning and the use of engines or vehicles are responsible for about 40 per cent of wildfires in the province, the BC Wildfire Service’s website says.

Manak told the driver that many forest fires are preventable and he needs to be “far more careful,” he said.

This is not the first time Manak gave out a fine for a lit cigarette butt being thrown out of a car window. Last September the police chief handed out a $81 fine for littering.

Manak said there are ”a thousand other ways” that people can properly dispose their cigarette butts, and he hoped this fine would be a “lesson” for people to be more careful.

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