Smoking and rooftop fires

Make sure proper cigarette disposal canisters are available in areas where smoking is allowed

Over the weekend, the Seattle Fire Department responded to two residential home fires that started on rooftops. In both situations, fire investigators identified improperly discarded smoking materials as the probable source of ignition. Every summer, we respond to fires that are caused by smoking materials left unattended or discarded improperly. With the warm and dry weather, more such fires may likely occur.

Even when smoking is not allowed on multi-residential building rooftops, fire Investigators frequently find cigarette butts in planter boxes and in garbage cans. It is important to never discard cigarettes in vegetation such as mulch, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, leaves or other things that could ignite easily. A small cigarette butt in dry conditions can turn into a major fire.

Steps to help reduce the chance of such fires include the following:

  • Carelessly discarded cigarettes and other smoking materials can easily start a fire in dry conditions. Extinguish smoking materials before you leave area
  • Douse smoking materials in water before tossing out
  • Make sure proper cigarette disposal canisters are available in areas where smoking is allowed
Discard smoking materials in designated canisters only