Throwing caution to the wind
November 22, 2011
This letter is to the person who threw a burning cigarette butt out your car window this morning. You were traveling on Pine Nut Road, about 100 yards east of Dump Road, at about 8:30 a.m. Nov. 19. I stopped my car and put your butt out.
What were you thinking?
The Caughlin Fire in Reno is still burning this morning. Nearly 10,000 people were evacuated, 450 firefighters risked their lives, several homes were destroyed, 2,000 acres burned and the costs will be in the millions. Yesterday there were four fires here in our community, two within a mile or so of where you tossed your cigarette butt. Which was also within a few hundred yards of the Douglas County Animal Shelter, the fairgrounds, the model airplane complex, the shooting range, the transfer station and recycling center, and a couple of neighborhoods full of nice people with kids, and dogs, and things that they care about.
The Reno fire was all over the television, the newspapers, the radio, and Facebook and Twitter. So I’m pretty sure you must have heard about it. Likewise the Ray May Fire in August. That one burned more than 3,000 acres and cost your neighbors a couple of million dollars. It was just a few miles south of where you tossed your cigarette butt this morning.
What’s your deal, dude? Are you stupid, or ignorant, or heartless, or just irresponsible? That’s what I was wondering as I walked my dogs out in the Pine Nuts this morning. We haven’t had any real precipitation in quite a while. So there’s lots of dry grass out there. It’s pretty, but it burns easily. There’s also a lot of old juniper and pinion pine, and a surprising amount of wildlife, if you look for it. And this morning there was a full-size refrigerator freezer; a big white one, standing next to a pine tree. It wasn’t there a few days ago. There were very fresh tire tracks leading away from it. I wondered if those were your tire tracks. Did you go out into the desert, dump your fridge, and then have a cigarette break?
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That’s what I was thinking. I wondered if maybe I didn’t have that second cup of coffee this morning would I have seen you toss your butt? Written down your license plate number? Maybe taken a picture of you? Watched you dump that big white fridge?
What were you thinking?