Australia - Victoria fires - arson thrown cigarette butt..

February 9, 2009 - Australia's raging wildfires have killed at least 130 people, decimating massive spans of land and leaving thousands of residents homeless, creating situation officials say they've never experienced. Scorching temperatures, drought, tinder-dry bush were ideal conditions for igniting a fire and the constantly-changing wind directions helped fan the blazes.

Arsonists are responsible for some of Australia's worst-ever wildfires. A LIT cigarette butt, possibly thrown from a passing car or truck, is the probable cause of the West Bendigo fire that claimed two lives and destroyed 50 homes.

Click on map to find Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.

What if the cigarette thrown was fire-safe (reduced propensity to burn)??

If the thrown LIT cigarette butt landed on a paved road there will be a good chance the burning tobacco would have self-extinguished. But more likely the LIT cigarette (fire-safe or not) was thrown into a highly combustible area immediately igniting the massive fires that resulted.

All cigarettes sold in Australia will be fire-safe by March 2010.

Victoria is the smallest mainland state in Australia but the most densely populated and urbanised. Compared to other Australian states, Victoria has a large and thriving Koala population.

Reference: Cigarette butt blamed for town's losses by Corrie Perkin, The Australian, 2/9/2009; Police: Australian fires create 'a holocaust', 2/9/2009.