With so many wildfires burning in the West, it’s a good time to reevaluate our interaction with the outdoors and realize that fires can start by means we might not usually consider – our vehicles.

The U.S. Forest Service reminds people to not park their vehicles in places that could potentially start a fire. Do not drive or park on dry grass, for instance, because “hot components under the vehicle can start fires that you won’t see until it’s too late.”

In a post on its Facebook page, the Forest Service gives these further tips:

  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained, with nothing dragging on the ground
  • If you hit a bump in the road/trail, the wheel can compress, make contact with the ground, and throw sparks
  • Brakes worn too think may cause metal to metal contact, which can also throw sparks

It also suggests that drivers carry a fire extinguisher and maintain their vehicles spark arrestors.