With summer around the corner, BLM Arizona and partners share tips for preventing roadside fires during rest area events


Wildfire prevention experts and Smokey Bear at an event Sunset Point Rest Area. It is a partly cloudy day.
Wildfire prevention experts and Smokey Bear at an event Sunset Point Rest Area on Friday, April 5, 2024.

Are you planning to hit the road this summer to beat the heat? With a hot and dry summer around the corner, it is important for travelers to do their part to prevent wildfires along our state’s highways.

Throughout the state, wildland firefighters respond to hundreds of fires due to tire blowouts, dragging trailer chains, and overheating vehicles. In 2023, 500 roadside fires accounted for 26% of all wildfires in the state, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management’s Arizona Dispatch Center.

This includes areas along Interstate 17 – a prime spot for fires, not just beautiful vistas.

Together with our Arizona state and federal partners, the Bureau of Land Management Arizona took part in a wildland fire prevention day on April 5 at the Sunset Point Rest Area to increase public awareness. During the event, which was organized by the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, the BLM was also joined by the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Fire prevention posters, flyers, and more were passed out as people passed through the rest area. During the event, together we educated nearly 50 people, helping them identify issues such as dragging chains and overloaded trailers. Our agencies shared important tips, including:

  • Check your vehicle’s fluids and tire conditions prior to getting on the road. Rims on poorly inflated tires can spark when hitting the pavement.
  • If towing a trailer, take a few extra minutes to be sure trailer chains are securely fastened.
  • Do not overload your trailer. Be sure to check your rear-view mirrors often to make sure your trailer has not blown a tire, causing it to drag and throw sparks that can easily start a roadside fire.
  • Never pull off the road into tall vegetation as the heat off the vehicle’s exhaust system could also ignite a fire.
  • Vehicles and some equipment can also shoot hot carbon or metal particles from their exhaust, particularly those that have not received regular mechanical maintenance. Make sure your vehicle or equipment – whether it is a car, truck, OHV (off-highway vehicle), motorcycle, chainsaws, or gas generator – is current on all mechanical checkups and has a spark arresting device.
Flyers sit on a table.

On Friday, April 19, agencies also plan to visit both sides of the Texas Canyon Rest Area, northeast of Benson along Interstate 10. Stop by and learn more about fire prevention because it is not just your itinerary you should be thinking about as you make your summer travel plans. Prepare with fire prevention in mind.

Learn more about BLM Arizona’s Fire and Aviation Program.

Dolores Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist

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