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What is the penalty for throwing a smoldering cigarette out of my car while driving?

A Lake Oswego police officer or firefighter answers readers' questions each week in this space. To submit a question, call Editor Patrick Malee at 503-479-2379 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

ANSWER: Oregon Revised Statute 476.715 — Throwing away of lighted matches, cigarettes and other materials prohibited — states it is a class B misdemeanor crime and adds: "No one shall, at any time, throw away any lighted tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, matches or other lighted material, on any forestland, private road, public highway or railroad right of way within this state."

It's getting to be the warmer time of year and with the higher temperatures we have the increased potential for fires along our roadways. Folks discarding cigarettes into bark dust and other easily flammable areas while on foot or from their moving vehicles poses a significant safety issue. Lake Oswego and other fire departments see an increase in bark dust fires from this type of activity each year around this time and need everyone's help to stop these fire causes. Please remember to properly extinguish any burning materials and never discard any lit material from a moving vehicle. Aside from the safety risk, you may find yourself charged with a crime.

— Clayton Simon, LOPD traffic lieutenant


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