Like a great many harmful things, it began with carelessness rather than intent.
Imagine if you will. A person in a hurry. They miss their pocket and the cell phone drops to the ground. Well, not exactly to the ground — that became the problem. It landed in some ornamental grass, very dry and long from last year. Add sunshine – lots and lots of sunshine.
Boy scouts, military, and perhaps girl scouts should have the picture by now.