One less spark, one less wildfire

Blog Post created by faithberry Employee on Feb 14, 2013

When I attended the recent Wildfire Prevention Regional Conference hosted by the California Fire Safe Council, I met Mark Thibideau, a Forest Service Fire Prevention Technician working for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest at a booth promoting “One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire.”

This is a unique fire prevention campaign that focuses on mitigating wildfires caused by vehicles.  The campaign is based in part on local research of historical data about wildfire occurrences along the highways.  Before the spring and summer holidays these precautions are important to be aware of so that we can be “Firewise” away from home as well. According to a July 23, 2012 press release, Ron Hodgson, USDA Forest Service Fire Prevention Coordinator said:  “With the exception of equipment fires, vehicles cause more wildfires in California than any other cause, and yet they are among the easiest for people to prevent”. 

The campaign is focused on the I-5 corridor in a region where visitor use of the rest areas exceeds 4.5 million vehicles a year.  They hang posters at informational kiosks, install fire danger signs and billboards along freeways, and increase patrols at rest areas to discuss dragging chains and other hazards.  These measures can be copied in areas throughout the country that are at high risk from vehicle caused wildfires along busy highways.

“We have identified a handful of easy steps motorists can take to make sure they are not responsible for startingSparkPoster a fire,” Thibideau said. “This public information campaign should allow us to quickly inform a lot of people how they can help keep the public and firefighters safe and themselves free from the legal and financial hardships often associated with starting a wildfire. These are straightforward steps that don’t take a lot of time or money to accomplish. With the simple measures of keeping tow chains or exhaust systems from dragging, driving with correctly inflated tires, and not parking near dry vegetation, drivers can join us in the “One Less Spark-One Less Wildfire” fire prevention effort.

Check out the poster (you can click on the image to get to the printable PDF version) for three simple steps motorists can take, including safe towing, nothing dragging, and being "wheel safe".

Photo credit: Faith Berry. Photo shows Mark Thibideau at the US Forest Service booth at the California Wildfire Prevention Regional Conference promoting “One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire”.  He is holding a used piece of fire hose that could be used to cover tow chains.