7 steps to avoid starting a wildfire during your #Eclipse2017 travels

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July 14, 2017

Dave Thompson, ODOT, 503-860-8021, David.H.Thompson@odot.state.or.us

Bobbi Doan, ODF, 503-945-7506, Bobbi.J.Doan@oregon.gov


7 steps to avoid starting a wildfire during your #Eclipse2017 travels


Arrive early, stay put, leave late; don’t let your vehicle start a wildfire.


The August 21 Solar Eclipse is certain to be memorable. With this worldwide event heading to Oregon during the peak of fire season, ODOT and the Oregon Department of Forestry want to make sure YOUR memories don’t include starting a wildfire.


In the days surrounding the event, an estimated one million eclipse enthusiasts from all over the world are expected to travel within Oregon’s path of totality. And with 70% of wildfires caused by people, the odds are not in our favor.


Luckily, you can do your part to better the odds and prevent wildfires by taking a few precautions:


  1. Secure tow chains. Make sure all vehicle parts are secure and not dragging. A loose safety tow chain or muffler striking a rock or pavement can send a shower of sparks into dry vegetation.
  2. Check your tires and make sure they receive regular maintenance. Once a flat tire shreds, the bare wheel can shower sparks on roadside vegetation.
  3. Maintain your exhaust system. A worn-out catalytic converter can cast off extremely hot pieces of material into dry roadside vegetation.
  4. Check underneath your car. Make sure it’s free of oil leaks and that fuel and brake lines are intact.
  5. Stay off the grass. Avoid parking or idling on dry grass. Vehicle exhaust and dry vegetation is a dangerous combination.
  6. Stay on the road. Off-road driving is prohibited in most areas during fire season.
  7. Be prepared. Keep a cell phone, water, a shovel and fire extinguisher with you in case a fire starts.


Of course, always follow recreational forest laws (www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx). Report fires immediately to 911. Use TripCheck.com or call 511 to check your planned route. For more eclipse travel tips and links, visit www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Pages/Eclipse.aspx.


Plan to have a good time in Oregon during the August #OREclipse. Plan ahead so you can!