A Faulty Spark Arrester Can START A WILDFIRE!

Today everyone knows that the internal combustion engine is responsible for a great deal of the smog in our country. But not everyone knows that sparks from engines -- in all kinds of vehicles -- are also responsible for a great many forest fires.

  • All internal combustion engines and equipment need spark arresters.
  • Agricultural equipment, construction equipment, locomotives, motorcycles, cross-country vehicles, and chainsaws require spark arresters if you use them in or near brush or forest areas.
  • Be sure you have the proper spark arrester, that is mounted correctly, and that it is working properly.
  • Always check your spark arrester before heading into a brush or forest area. If you're not sure about the condition of your spark arrester, take your vehicle or equipment to someone who knows what kind of trouble to look for.
  • If you're not sure what kind of spark arrester is correct for your vehicle, ask someone who knows. Check with the company that sold you your vehicle. Or contact your local office of the USDA Forest Service.

Remember, a little extra care takes only a few minutes of your time. And it could save a forest!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains a spark arrester test facility at the Forest Service Equipment Development Center: 444 East Bonita Avenue; San Dimas, California 91773. About 500 spark arrester lists are maintained and published by the Center. Federal and local laws and administrative requirements prescribe when and where arresters are required. During periods of very high or extreme fire danger, arresters meeting these standards will not give complete protection against exhaust spark fires. Additional measures, including shutdown of operations, may be required during such periods.

Homeowner spark arrester check list:

  • chain saw
  • lawn mower
  • wood splitter
  • motor bikes
  • generator
  • compressor
  • tractor
  • pump
  • other internal combustion engine

For more information on forest closures and restrictions, visit the PNW Fire Prevention Web site at www.or.blm.gov/nwfire/

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