Seriously, don't park in tall grass

By Doug Pacey / ADOT Communications

Don't park in tall brush DMSIf you drove on a state highway in Arizona last weekend, there’s a good chance you saw wildfire prevention messages on overhead signs.

The messages read, “Parking in tall brush can start a wildfire,” and, “Don’t drag chains, one spark can start a wildfire.”

Some drivers, however, didn’t take the messages seriously. At least two of the 46 brushfires that ignited during the Independence Day weekend (July 4-7) were caused by vehicles that drove off-road and into brush, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

A vehicle’s undercarriage is very hot and when it’s near or in contact with dry shrubs or tall grass, the vegetation can begin to smolder and then ignite, starting a brush fire that can quickly turn into a wildfire.

Already, the number of acres burned this year in Arizona is double compared to last year. Let’s all do our part and follow these tips that can prevent our vehicles from igniting a wildfire:

  • Check and secure tow chains, and never substitute parts when towing.
  • Make sure nothing is hanging beneath your vehicle and dragging on the pavement.
  • Check tire pressure before you travel. Exposed wheel rims can cause sparks.
  • Don’t park in tall grass, as the heat from a vehicle’s undercarriage can start a fire.

For more information on how to prevent fires, please visit wildlandfire.az.gov.