Rob Chatton, Mid Island ATV Club Director of Safety and Environment, recently shared information on ATV Forest Fire prevention. He wrote:
Spring has sprung and dust has replaced mud, the bears and wildflowers are about and the weekly status updates from Fire Centres indicate we have again moved into fire season.
Think of the areas we enjoy ATVing. Forested trails, viewpoints looking over green meadow’s, wild berries by the lake. Now replace that with a blackened landscape. The stubs of stumps and charcoal tree remnants will eventually be replaced by new growth, but won’t be a place we want to ride for years with soot and ash pits coating us and our machines. Those standing burnt trees become a fall hazard and it will be decades before it partially resembles he area we once knew.
As outdoor enthusiasts it’s in our best interests to be fire safe and minimize the chances of human caused fires. Here are a few tips to help minimize the outbreak of a wildfire:
- Check your exhaust to ensure it is fitted with a spark arrestor and that it’s in good condition. Most will have a small screen in the pipe, others could be a disk design.
2. Never park your machine in tall grass or underbrush as the heat from different components on the ATV could be the heat source needed to ignite the dried fuels.
3. Do not use glass in the outdoors, and if you see broken glass left ensure it is picked up. Glass (and other reflective items) can refract, focus and concentrate the sunlight on a specific spot creating the needed heat source.
4. Smoking materials need to be fully extinguished. Stomping out a butt on the ground should be replaced with soaking it in water, wrapped in foil and taken home to the trash bin.
5. Campfires will need to be phased out as the weather warms and bans come in place. If you find a smoldering campfire, douse with water and mix the coals thoroughly. Continue this until you have a wet slurry. Carefully “cold trail” with the back of your hand, feeling for heat to ensure it’s fully out and didn’t burn down to the roots.
If water is unavailable, dig up ad turn over the fire base until you reach dirt. Then fully bury the fire using soil free from any organics. This will need to be several inches thick to exclude oxygen. This method will require continued monitoring and should be reported or can be left if you can return with water.
A dry chemical fire extinguisher is not the best as it doesn’t remove built up heat. If you use an extinguisher to control a fire, follow up with water or bury deep with soil.