Monday, June 23, 2008

Fire season

Growing up on a cattle ranch in Shasta County, fire season was something we took seriously. My father had a 300 gallon water tank with a 5 horse power gas engine that we pulled with a pickup. When May rolled around, the gas tank and water tank were kept full at all times. The volunteer fire house in the thriving metropolis of Oak Run California was about 7 miles away from our ranch. Most of the volunteers lives a few miles away, so by the time alarm went out, the fire fighters arrived at the station and then drove out to your house, you may be talking about a half hour response time. We put out a few fires on our place and the neighbors' long before we saw the flashing lights of a fire truck.

Most of the fires we put out were man made, mostly cigarettes thrown out the windows of cars. I am not an anti-smoking hard case, if you're an adult who want to ingest cancer causing smoke into your lungs, smoke away. However if you throw your flippin' lit cigarette butt out the window of your car, as Merle Haggard would say, you're walking on the fightin' side of me.

You know that little metal tray you keep your looses change in, put you damn cigarettes in there! Oh I know, my cigarettes are always crushed out when I toss them out the window. Yea, sure they are. One tiny ember in a 5 mile an hour breeze is all it takes to set fire to the dry grass along side the road. One stupid mistake, and people loose homes, livestock or in the worst cases, their lives. I don't think I am asking too much to keep your cigarettes inside your car. Besides, it littering.

If you see someone toss their cigarette out the window, write down their license plate, I don't know if there is anything you can do with the information, but it is against the law. A $100 to $1,000 fine for the first conviction may teach them to be more careful. Strike that, it may teach them to act less like a jackass.

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