A relatively dry winter could increase the risk of wildfires during the summer months. Arizona is one of the top five driest states, according to the National Climatic Data Center and it just takes one spark to start a wildfire. MCDOT encourages drivers to do their part to prevent wildfires, especially while on the road.
- Stay on the road or paved shoulder: Avoid driving or parking vehicles in tall grass or vegetation.
- Keep it inside: Never throw a burning cigarette out of a vehicle.
- Be prepared: Carry a shovel and a fire extinguisher in your vehicle. When pulling a trailer, attach safety chains securely; loose chains can drag and cause sparks.
- Stay on top of routine car maintenance: Driving on an exposed wheel rim throws sparks. Poorly lubricated wheel bearings can overheat and ignite, and worn-out brakes can drop hot material. Engine compartments can collect debris and ignite a spark. Worn-out catalytic converters can degrade and cast off extremely hot pieces of material. A faulty spark arrestor can shed hot metal. Oil and transmission fluid are highly flammable. Make sure there are no leaks.
- Check ahead: Follow all public-use restrictions and access closures – It is important to check with local agencies about any closures before venturing off road. Observe “Red Flag” fire-weather warnings. These warnings are issued when weather conditions are conducive to the easy start and rapid spread of wildfires.
If you see a roadside fire, call 911 immediately and give an accurate description of where you are and how big the fire appears to be.