Be aware of the ways a vehicle can start a wildfire

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This SUV is parked on high grass, its hot catalytic converter igniting a wildfire. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
With unprecedented wildfire activity scorching California this year, fire safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds as they go about their daily business. “Most fires in California are started by humans,” Crystal Kolden, a fire scientist at University of California Merced, said. The blazes are caused by power lines, equipment failures, car accidents and campfires, she said. Made of metal that can spark, equipped with exhaust that can get dangerously hot and powered by batteries or fuel that can ignite – cars, trucks, motorcycles and recreational vehicles can be to blame when a fire surges out of control. Exhaust systems can spark as a result of the combustion process. Off-highway vehicles and dirt bikes must be equipped with spark arrestors to prevent the sparks fr
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