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Police warn of littering butts

Cigarettes are fire hazards in current drought

– Indiana is not your ashtray.

That’s the message Indiana State Police are sending to anyone who throws a lighted cigarette out a window while driving in the Hoosier State.

There have been several fires across the state because of drought conditions, Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell said.

There are 85 counties with burn bans and laws that troopers will enforce to prevent future fires, he said. He reminded residents that it’s illegal to throw any lighted material from a moving vehicle and to litter.

His memo was sent to all division commanders.

“As Indiana State Troopers, we have the discretion to take action under these statutes, thus doing our part to protect the safety of citizens, in addition to the natural resources of Indiana,” Whitesell wrote.

Raquel Foster, Fort Wayne police spokeswoman, said there are two separate laws that prohibit throwing lighted cigarettes out of car windows and timing is key for enforcing the laws.

“With the burn ban in effect, we knew there would be certain things we wanted to pay attention to,” she said. “That’s one you have to witness.”

Foster said she didn’t know whether Fort Wayne police had recently cited anyone for throwing a lighted cigarette out of a moving vehicle.