BEND, OR -- As the risk of wildfire increases, the Oregon Department of Transportation is urging drivers to take precautions. "It’s actually pretty common for fires to start next to the highway," says ODOT's Kacey Davey, "Especially when folks throw cigarette butts out the window; that’s a huge culprit."
Tuesday evening, firefighters responded to a small brush fire along the Bend Parkway on the north end of town. Its cause is under investigation.
We’ve seen little rain, conditions are dry and the fire danger is high, which means it only takes a small spark to ignite roadside brush. "Make sure, if you have a vehicle with chains attached to it, that they’re not dragging and creating sparks, because wildfires are often started from next to the highways." And, if you get a flat tire, pull over right away because driving on rims can also produce a spark. Davey tells KBND News, "If you need to pull over off the side of the road, make sure you’re not parking on any tall, dry grass that could be touching the underside of your car."
ODOT also suggests carrying a fire extinguisher in your car and know how to use it. And, if you encounter a wildfire or smoky conditions, slow down, turn on your headlights and give the vehicle in front of you plenty of space, roll up your windows and set your fan to recirculate, and consider an alternate route.