Small Acts of Irresponsibility and Responsibility

I was in Williams Lake, BC, Canada last week. Just before 6 P.M., I left my hotel room to go to the local 7-11. Just before I reached the library, I saw smoke by the sidewalk. As I got closer, I saw flame. Some mulch was on fire, and there were other parts that were smoking.

The flames were still small so I stomped them out. I stomped out smoking bits, too. Because of the dryness of the mulch and the strong breeze, more bits kept almost catching. After about five minutes, I had it all out for the moment — but was concerned about more catching — and went into the library to report the problem. When a library worker and I came back, there were smoking patches again.

The irresponsibility was not that big, but the consequences could have been quite a bit bigger. A portion of landscaping might have gone up. No building was immediately adjacent, but the wind might have carried embers and started other fires.

The responsibility that I took was not that big either, but it prevented a possible, nasty situation.

How many fires have been started by a momentary irresponsibility? (This one was apparently someone flicking a lit cigarette butt.) It can take much effort to put out one of these fires. It was fortunate that I arrived on the scene while the fire was easily controllable.

Your actions can have bigger consequences than you might think. I encourage you to make the effort to make things go right.