Five Best Ways to Start an Arizona Forest Fire

Fire crews are having a hell of a time putting out the second largest forest fire in Arizona history, which is currently burning in eastern Arizona. So, naturally, we've made a list of the five best ways to start a forest fire in Arizona.

Last year over 1,500 wildfires damaged more than 85,000 acres of Arizona land, according to the Southwest Coordination Center, an agency that manages wildfire incidents.

About 1,000 of those fires were started by people, most likely those who didn't pay much attention to the endless Smokey the Bear presentations in elementary school.

Way to go.

"People just aren't being aware of their surroundings," Dolores Garcia, a fire mitigation expert for the Arizona office of the US Bureau of Land Management, tells New Times. "We have the saying that if you light a fire you better be prepared to put it out."

While the flames continue to scourge and the smoke continues to suffocate, officials continue to say the fire wreaking havoc across the east is "zero percent contained," which is really secret code for "zero percent under control."

And who can blame them; the fire's so large its smoke is reaching parts of Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota.

So, as firefighters from across the state fight like hell to put out the enormous blaze, below are the five best ways to start one, compliments of the USBLM:

5. Flat tires

Driving with a flat tire is never a good idea. But when the rim of the tire constantly rides the road, sparks fly and it's bye - bye Bambi.

4. Trailer Chains

Nothing says awesome family vacay like a wildfire and a fat citation from the park service.

Word to the wise: When you're hooking your trailer, RV, or boat to the back of your vehicle, make sure the chain is wrapped around the hitch properly and not dragging on the ground. Sparks from the chain can cause even the smallest fire to turn into a Smokey the Bear's night terror.

3. Pulling over a hot car to the side of the road

Unless you're Nicolas Cage, and therefore certified to walk away (preferably in slow motion) from massive explosions, don't pull your overheated car over to the grassy highway shoulder.

A fire could start and your car might blow up. Sorry.

2. Light a candle

Another common way to start a wildfire is the actual use of fire. Of all the places to use a candle, the forest isn't one of them. Forest experts point to anything from lanterns to Glade scented candles.

It's called fresh air for a reason, no need to add the suffocating sent of Creamy Custard and Blushing Apple to your camping trip.

1. Leave a campfire unattended

While it might seem like a no-brainer, this is one of the most common ways to start a fire Garcia says.

"People just aren't aware of their surrounding," she says. "People go to the port-o-potty and leave their campfire and then they come back and their tent's gone and their neighbor's tent is on fire."

So please, do the forest a favor and pee responsibly.

As a side note, Garcia did mention that beer can be a useful tool in putting out small fires. So, if you're getting your drink on in the woods, get your Smokey on as well and remember to keep a few cold ones handy just in case you set the forest on fire.

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