Residents driving on Carbon Canyon Road have been taking videos and photos of drivers tossing lit cigarette butts from their car windows and potentially into the dry brush that swathes 3,000 acres of open space in Chino Hills.
Sleepy Hollow resident Laura Dawson, a member of the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council, said she has found cigarettes that have been left burning within inches of leaves and brush.
“Most of us who live here are very familiar with the conditions that make this community a high fire hazard area,” she said. “We are especially concerned about the kind of disastrous situations that could be caused by cigarettes tossed to the ground, not just from a moving vehicle on Carbon Canyon Road but anywhere,” she said.
Ms. Dawson urges residents to bring their concerns about any fire hazard to the next monthly Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7 at Sleepy Hollow Community Building, 16801 Rosemary Lane.
The council includes residents and fire agencies representing the entire canyon from Brea to Chino Hills and works with the fire districts to lessen fire hazards, maintain defensible space, and create awareness.
According to Sgt. Michael Warrick of the Chino Hills Police Station, tossing a lit cigarette out the car window is a violation of the California Vehicle Code.
The punishments could include a $500 fine, community service, and a mandatory court appearance but the final judgment is made in court.
Sgt. Warrick said if a resident sees somebody throw a lit object out a vehicle and provides a license plate number, a deputy will make an area check looking for the vehicle with an attempt to make contact to investigate.
“Because it is an infraction not committed in our presence, the deputy would need to establish probable cause to issue a citation,” he said.
“We take fire safety seriously and citizens are encouraged to call dispatch if they see a violation,” he said.
The Chino Hills Police Station dispatch number is 465-6837.
Residents may also contact the Chino Valley Fire District with a complaint and a license plate number, said fire marshal Danielle Barnes.
Ms. Barnes said the fire district will issue a warning to the registered owner of the vehicle.
To contact the fire district, call 902-5280, press 2, and then 2 again, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“With the right weather conditions, a lit discarded cigarette can cause a fire and have detrimental effects,” Ms. Barnes said. “Please help keep the canyon and our community safe by disposing of cigarettes and other smoking materials properly.”
The Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council will host a Wildfire Emergency Preparedness Event 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8 at Western Hills Country Club, 1800 Carbon Canyon Rd.