First Posted: 2/15/2009
Saturday night, local forestry and fire officials were called to Pilot Mountain, where a small fire was burning. Although fighting the blaze was difficult because of the steep and rocky terrain, workers were able to extinguish the blaze before it burned more than an acre or so.
They were lucky, because the fire might just have well have burned all night before anyone noticed it, destroying more land annd making considerably more work for firefighters.
Forestry Ranger Brian Elam, who spent about four hours on the scene, said he believes the fire was started by a carelessly discarded cigarette.
Elam explained that a cigarette burns at such a low temperature, someone could throw it down and not see any smoke or signs of a blaze for hours it could just smolder, quietly, for a long time before finally setting fire to leaves and pine needles.
That means it is up to each of us, especially now as we head into a time of year when the wind is often stronger and the climate dryer, to be careful in the outdoors. Whether its disposing of a cigarette, using a campfire, or burning brush and other household waste, or working outdoors with machinery, carelessness often results in forest fires.
And those fires are costly. They are expensive to fight and extinguish, and leave an ugly, lasting mark on the landscape for years. And, most of the time, they are entirely preventable.
If youre heading outdoors, be especially careful, and help take care of the areas natural beauty by preventing forest fires.