Calgary, AB,

Calgary Fire Department urges caution when disposing of smoking material

Close call in Redstone due to smoking materials

Tuesday at noon, Calgary fire crews responded to a house fire on Redstone Drive N.E. The caller to 9-1-1 indicated that the fire was along the side of the house. A passerby stopped and tried extinguishing the fire with a garden hose. Fire crews were on scene quickly and put the fire out. There was no spread of fire to the interior of the structure and no injuries were reported.

The fire investigator on scene determined that the cause of this fire was the improper disposal of smoking materials. A plastic planter pot was being used by occupants as an ashtray. The contents ignited, started the plastic container on fire and flames then spread to the vinyl siding of the house. Had it not been for the quick actions of the person passing by, damage would have been more extensive.

To help reduce outdoor fire risks during the spring and summer seasons, the Calgary Fire Department is reminding citizens to use caution when disposing of smoking materials and when using outdoor open flames, including barbeques and backyard fire pits.

Improper disposal of smoking material

“Improper disposal of smoking materials such as tobacco products is the leading cause of outdoor fires in Calgary,” says Carol Henke, public information officer for Calgary Fire.

To better protect your homes, the Calgary Fire Department recommends that homeowners:

  • Always use a deep, wide, sturdy metal container filled part way with water or sand to discard butts in. Never put out cigarettes or smoking materials in plant pots, peat moss, your lawn or garden.
  • Do not store propane tanks, firewood or yard waste next to your house.
  • Prune all tree branches within two metres of the ground and plant new trees at least three metres apart.
  • Assess potential fire hazards within 30 metres of your home, including natural debris, trees and other structures.
  • Never discard cigarrette butts out of your vehicle window

Outdoor open flames

“When we refer to outdoor open flames, we are mostly talking about backyard fire pits, outdoor fire places, and wood burning ovens or Chimeneas,” adds Henke, noting that “all fire pits should burn clean, dry firewood, use a spark guard according to The City’s Community Standards Bylaw and to always have a hose or bucket with water close by to put out the fire.”

When building an outdoor fire pit, the Calgary Fire Department recommends that homeowners:

  • Built into the ground, on brick or stone, or in a fire-proof container.
  • Place the fire pit two metres away from your property line, house, garage, or fence.
  • Do not build the fire pit under any trees, branches, plants or other materials that can catch fire.

Throughout the spring and summer seasons, the Calgary Fire Department will to monitor weather, moisture indices in fuels and the Air Quality Health Index to determine if fire bans are necessary.

For more information on Calgary fire bans and fire safety advisories, visit or contact 311.

Remember to always call 9-1-1 to report a fire.