Canadian officials consider impounding cars if drivers toss out cigarette butts

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Thursday, July 16, 2015
Cigarette butt in grass

VICTORIA, Canada (KTRK) -- If you toss a cigarette butt out the window, your car will end up in the impound.

That's one of the ideas from government officials in Canada in an attempt to cut down on man-made brush fires.

Officials in Victoria say humans are to blame for 375 reported brush fires since April 1st of this year. Forests Minister Steve Thomson is now asking his parliamentary secretary to think up some ways to deter people from "irresponsible behavior."

One of those ideals includes impounding vehicles if a driver is caught tossing a cigarette butt out the window. People with multiple violations could also find themselves banned from public parks.

"There are some who suggest that you can't legislate against stupidity, but if exploring the idea of increasing fines or acting on ideas that mean more people will get the message, I think we should be prepared to have a look at it," Thomson told CTV News. "We need to send a clear message that we take this issue very seriously and that human-caused wildfires are unacceptable."

Current laws allow officials to fine people $115 for failing to report a fire, $173 for dropping, releasing, mishandling or failing to extinguish a burning substance and $345 for breaking campfire restrictions.