Cigarette butts become a big issue during wildfire season

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - If you're not careful, you could be responsible for starting a wildfire without even knowing it. Fire officials tell WHNT News 19 that cigarette butts are becoming a serious issue.

While flicking your cigarette out the window seems harmless, it can result in burnt acres of land.

"It's just habit," said Captain Frank Mckenzie with the Huntsville Fire Department. A habit, the fire department is hoping to break. McKenzie wants smokers to become more aware.

"Those can roll over and catch the bushes on fire, catch the grass on fire," said Mckenzie.

The lower humidity and wind also doesn't help. McKenzie said that those two factors can cause a fire to double size in 30 seconds.

"We get calls of people with their mulch beds on fire, and it spreads up to their house, and the next thing you know it's burning the siding on their house. I mean, maybe nobody is hurt, but the damage that can be done can be immense to the property owners," Mckenzie said.

It's important to remember that throwing out your cigarette butts is littering. For your first offense, you could be fined up to $250.