Dirty business

Here’s a Public Service Announcement we never thought we’d have to write: When you relieve yourself in the woods, don’t set the toilet paper on fire afterward, especially when the entire West is burning.

But alas, this comes too late for Matthew Riser, a 57-year-old Louisiana man who authorities arrested on suspicion of starting the massive Pipeline Fire raging outside Flagstaff.

From Arizona’s Channel 5 News: “Riser reportedly admitted to lighting toilet paper, which he called ‘sh**’ paper, and had tried to put it out with his sleeping bag, which was 80 yards from where the fire started.”

That firefighting tactic, obviously, did not work. As of Wednesday, the Pipeline Fire had burned more than 20,000 acres, just two days after igniting, and was the reason Durango looked like the end times on Monday.

Anyway, what we’re trying to say is, the entire region is at a heightened risk for wildfire, so please don’t burn the place down. On June 15, the San Juan National Forest and La Plata County entered into stricter Stage 2 Fire Restrictions. The following activities are now prohibited:

1) Igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, including fires in developed recreation sites (campgrounds and picnic areas), charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood burning stoves, and sheepherder’s stoves.

2) Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building.

3) Blasting, welding or operating acetylene or other torch with open flame.

4) Operating or using any internal combustion engine without an effective and properly installed USDA- or Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)- approved spark arrestor.

5) Operating a chainsaw without an effective and properly installed USDA- or SAE- approved spark arrestor, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher (with a minimum of 8 oz. capacity and rating of 2A) kept with the operator and a round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches readily available for use.

6) Using an explosive. This includes but is not limited to fuses, blasting caps, fireworks, exploding targets, tracers and incendiary ammunition.

7) Possessing or using a motor vehicle off established roads, motorized trails or established parking areas, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the vehicle.

And I guess we have to add an 8th: Don’t light your used s*** paper on fire.

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