OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Fire Department is telling people to be careful when throwing away their cigarettes.

This follows a spike in fires caused by cigarette butts. 

Since January, the Oklahoma City Fire Department has responded to 18 structure fires sparked by improperly discarded cigarette butts.

One of the most recent cigarette sparked fires. Firefighters in the city responded to was on Tuesday at Brookline and NW 50 Street.

In that case, a cigarette butt was tossed onto a wooden balcony.

Firefighters are now warning the public to smoke outside, use sturdy ashtrays and make sure butts are completely extinguished before discarding them.

Additionally firefighters say cigarettes should not be thrown onto a combustible surface, tossed into vegetation near a building, and never tossed out of car windows. 

Firefighters say you don't have to spend a lot of money on an ashtray, a metal can filled with sand will do just fine.