Boise Fire Department
Photo by Boise Fire Department

Man answers nature’s call and starts 73-acre wildfire

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When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. But as one Idaho cyclist’s recent experience proves, you’ve also gotta be careful, lest you start an environmental disaster.

The anonymous cyclist started a wildfire after entering a ravine to defecate where he later lit his toilet paper on fire. More than 73 acres burned before local firefighting efforts extinguished the flames.

The man, who was cycling through Boise foothills last week, brought his own toilet paper with him into the woods, and after using it, burned it in an attempt reduce his environmental impact. Unfortunately, this plan backfired when the man attempted to smother the burning paper and an ember ignited some dry grass.

The Boise Fire Department and the BLM worked together to put out the fire, though the effort took almost eight hours and required two helicopters, two bulldozers, and five BLM Fire engines, according to the Fire Department’s Facebook page. 

As BLM spokesperson Carrie Bilbao told local TV station KTVB, the man’s method of disposing of his waste is not actually that uncommon. “When people have to go, they will often burn their toilet paper just as kind of an environmental concern to not litter,” she says.

According to the BLM, the cyclist came forward and admitted he might have been responsible for the fire. When his story matched evidence found at the scene, he was issued a citation. It has not been determined if the man will be held criminally or financially responsible for the fire.