NMDOT shares tips to ensure your car isn’t a wildfire hazard

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — NMDOT is emphasizing that “one spark starts a fire” as they share tips on how to ensure your car isn’t a wildfire hazard.

“This does happen along the roadways. You’d be surprised how many times we get called out to respond to some type of fire along our roadway,” said Travis Martinez, with the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

As we approach one year since the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire started, this message is very important. Something as natural as a lightning strike or a cigarette butt thrown out of a car window can easily spark a large fire in volatile conditions.

“Under the drought conditions, these dry conditions, especially with high winds, any type of spark can ignite a fire and a fire can spread rapidly,” Martinez said.

Summer is the time for more road trips. That means prevention is key and you’ll want to remember some key tips.

“Most importantly, you don’t want to be parking where there is tall grass, especially dry grass. If you are hauling a trailer, you want to make sure your tow chains are properly secure and not dragging and causing that spark that can ignite a grass fire,” Martinez explained.

You’ll also want to check your tire pressure, as exposed rims can cause sparks.

As mentioned, avoid throwing cigarette butts out the window.

Instead, carry a fireproof container in your car or a half-full water bottle to extinguish your butts in.