A carelessly discarded cigarette can spark a fire. The Tampa Bay Times reported a recent brush fire that destroyed homes was likely caused by a lit cigarette thrown out by a parent waiting for their children at a bus stop. Four homes and several cars were destroyed in the blaze. That single cigarette caused 400 acres of land to go up in smoke.

The authorities haven’t identified the person responsible. If identified, the individual will be forced to pay for the cost of fighting the fire.

Fires started from burning cigarettes are a leading cause of fire deaths. People who fall asleep with burning cigarettes nearby can easily spark a home fire, and discarded ones like this can cause brush fires. Careless use of smoking materials (e.g., cigarettes) caused 540 deaths, 1,640 injuries, and about $621 million in property damages in the U.S. in 2011, reports the National Fire Protection Association.

Quitting smoking can improve your health in more ways than one! No smoking means no lit cigarettes and fewer matches and lighters around where children can reach them. But if you do choose to smoke, please dispose of your butts responsibly and ensure they are completely put out. You could just save your life.

For more articles on fire safety and how you can protect yourself, we invite you to check out some of our other posts:

And if you have been burned, we have articles on what to expect during your recovery.