We all know in summer that thunderstorms happen frequently and with them come lightning and naturally ignited wildfires; what you may not know is that according to the National Interagency Fire Center, (NIFC), humans cause more than 62,000 wildfires annually, burning about 2.4 million acres.
Since recreation is huge in the summer, we need to be aware of what we can do to reduce the possibility of starting wildfires while outdoors. If camping, think about the location of your campfire - try to use existing fire rings or pits and make sure it is completely out before bedding down or leaving. The same goes for BBQ briquettes, leaving them in an open BBQ is inviting disaster if the wind comes up and blows embers into vegetation; dispose of them properly. Make sure current fire restrictions in your area allow for campfires and BBQ use.
If you use a trailer of any kind while traveling, make sure safety chains do not drag as this creates sparks that ignites vegetation next to roads and highways. If you drive or park a vehicle off road, remember the catalytic converter under the vehicle gets extremely hot and can ignite vegetation, especially grasses under the vehicle.
Spark arrestors are commercially available for motorcycles and ATV’s to reduce that potential ignition source off road.
For more information on recreating safely in fire prone areas, including fireworks and shooting sports, check out Arizona’s Interagency Wildfire Prevention Page.
To learn about wildfire and causes of wildfire take a look at Interfire Online’s fire investigation page.
(graphic credit: fs.usda.gov)