A Cyclist Stops to Poop, Ends Up Starting Wildfire

Bureau of Land Management has advice for those heeding nature's call
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2015 12:19 AM CDT
Updated Jul 24, 2015 9:20 AM CDT
Cyclist's Toilet Stop Blamed for Wildfire
The 73-acre blaze was named the "Hull Fire."   (Boise Fire Department)

Pooping in the wilderness is something Smokey Bear probably wouldn't have that big a problem with—but burning your toilet paper afterward is a different story. The Bureau of Land Management says a mountain biker in Idaho started a 73-acre blaze in the Boise foothills on Wednesday afternoon after setting his toilet paper alight following a "rest stop" in a ravine, NBC News reports. Fire officials say the man thought he was doing the right thing, but an ember set some dry grass on fire and the blaze, dubbed the Hull Fire, quickly spread out of control. It was contained roughly six-and-a-half hours later.

"I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go," BLM spokeswoman Carrie Bilbao tells KTVB, though she stresses that burning toilet paper in dry conditions is a very bad idea; the agency advises people to bury human waste or remove it under the "pack it in, pack it out" policy. The man, who came forward yesterday and was handed a citation for starting the fire (that's usually accompanied by a $250 fine), may also have to pay the full cost of putting it out, which the Idaho Statesman reports could be in the thousands to cover the helicopters, air tankers, and ground crews that stopped the blaze from spreading to neighborhoods. Bilbao tells the Statesman a toilet paper-related fire has occurred on BLM land at least once before. (Here are five ways to, well, poop better.)

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