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Hot Vehicles Parked on Grass can Trigger Wildfires

Cal Fire Urges Residents to Keep Cars Maintained

Fire Prevention Week

SANTA MARIA, Calif - 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit is how hot the catalytic converter underneath a vehicle can become.

"Catalytic converters are very hot," said Brian Wampler of Rizzoli's Automotive. "Very very hot, you can't even get your hand within a couple feet of it when the engine is running."

Wampler said, mix that heat with dry grass and a brush fire can easily ignite.

"I've seen it happen many times over the years somebody parks over a dry section of grass and the fire's already started before they even realize it," said Wampler.

Wampler also added that vehicles built after 1974 are equipped with Catalytic Converters, and it's not just the Catalytic Converter that can cause a fire.

Low hanging mufflers and chains that drag can also spark and land in nearby dry grass.

"Anytime there's a low hanging piece of metal or anything that can spark either by contacting a rock or contacting cement, it can cause sparks," he said.

CalFire Capt. Dell Wells said they've responded to many fires that have been started by a vehicle.

"You'll probably hear over the summer of a quite a few incidents of vehicles that have possibly caused a fire in the wild land," Wells said.

During this drought, the possibility of hot sparks landing on dry grass can ignite a fire relatively quickly.

For more information on Wild Fire Awareness Week, visit http://www.fire.ca.gov/

Try not to drive your vehicle off the road or on country roads when it's hot and dry because that increases your chances of a fire starting from a vehicle

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