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ADOT reminds drivers about risks of starting brush fires

ADOT parking in brush sign
Arizona Department of Transportation

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handout | agency
A sign warning about fire danger on an Arizona freeway.

As the weather heats up across the Valley, the risk for brush fires increases. Officials are warning that much of the state remains under significant wildland fire threat throughout the rest of the month.

One common cause of these fires are inattentive motorists, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

“So the motorists can inadvertently start fires through a lack of attention," said Kelsey Mo with ADOT. "For example, a vehicle's undercarriage is very, very hot and when it's near or in contact with dry shrubs or tall grass, that vegetation can smolder and start a brush fire that can turn into a wildfire," she said.

Mo also says people should avoid tossing cigarettes out of their vehicles and keep loose chains from dragging and causing sparks. Motorists should also check tire pressure, as exposed rims can cause sparks.

In northern Arizona, Coconino County officials warned that average winter snowfalls coupled with a dry May only increased drought conditions in the area. And a drier than average monsoon is expected when those storms begin later this summer.

Kelsey said people can check if highways or roads are affected by brush fires by going to AZ511.gov.

Ignacio Ventura is a reporter for KJZZ. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in news media and society.
Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.