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Fire in Lava Field Caused by Cigarette

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Fire in Lava Field Caused by Cigarette

Moss on fire in Snæfellsnes.

Fire fighters at the site. Photo: Bjargey Ólafsdóttir.

A fire yesterday in the Beruvíkurhraun lava field in West Iceland’s Snæfellsnes National Park was caused by a cigarette butt, RÚV reports.The fire spread over a 1,500 m2 (16,000 sq ft) area along an old fisherman’s track, from Sandhólar to Dritvík, a small creek about 1 km (0.62 mi) from the popular tourist site Djúpalónssandur.

The fire spread quickly through the moss, starting about 300 m (328 yd) from the parking lot located next to a hiking trail. Snæfellesnes’ head park rangers, staff rangers, and volunteers responded quickly and were able to put the blaze out in about two hours, according to a statement released by the Environment Agency of Iceland. The area was then monitored until midnight.

Chief park ranger Jón Björnsson saw the smoke around 4:00 pm, which he said was a great stroke of luck, because if he hadn’t, the fire would have spread even more quickly. He noted that it hadn’t rained in the park for three weeks, leaving the moss extremely dry, and, therefore, more vulnerable to fire. Jón urges visitors to the park to remember not to throw their cigarette butts into nature, but rather take them away to dispose of elsewhere when they leave.

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