What is Summer Without a Road Trip? Prepare for Emergency Before You Go.

Every year, millions of people take to the road. However, many people don’t realize how many wildland fires are caused by vehicles. The National Fire Protection Agency reports that three-fourths of highway vehicle fires resulted from mechanical or electrical malfunctions.

Your vehicle and trailer provide many ignition sources - improperly greased bearings, dragging trailer chains, failing catalytic converters, older exhaust systems that allow carbon build up, flat tires or a lack of regularly scheduled maintenance. Maintain and use your vehicle responsibly to reduce wildfire risk. Have vehicles inspected annually by a trained professional technician. Stay on designated roads and never park or drive over dry grass. The exterior of your exhaust system can reach temperatures of 2,800°F and easily ignite dry grass and brush.

Maintenance Guidelines:

  • Check fluids. Brakes or transmissions that overheat due to lack of fluid can shatter, casting off hot metal fragments.
  • Watch for fluid leaks. Check vehicles for cracked or blistered hoses and wiring with loose, exposed metal or cracked insulation. Have these conditions repaired as soon as possible.
  • Grease wheel bearings. Trailers that sit unused for long periods of time and those exposed to water need more attention. Check tire pressure and wear to prevent blowouts.
  • Be alert to changes. A louder than usual noise from your exhaust, smoke coming from the tailpipe or a backfiring exhaust system could indicate problems. Catalytic converters can break down, ejecting particles as hot as 1,600°F. If you suspect exhaust or emission problems, have the vehicle inspected and repaired as soon as possible.
  • Keep your vehicle aligned. A misaligned axle can cause a tire to ignite.
  • Check trailer safety chains to make sure they are not hitting the ground. Dragging chains can throw sparks.