AUSTIN, Texas — Before hitting the road Memorial Day weekend, drivers may want to double check to see if any chains are hanging off the back of their trailers.
Experts at the Texas A&M Forest Service said they've seen wildfires caused by chain dragging all year long. They say, no matter how small, sparks can easily spark a fire if it's close enough to grass.
Forest Service official Kari Hines said it’s quite simple to prevent ignition. Drivers can twist the chain on itself, then hook it to the vehicle to secure it and keep the chain off the ground.
She said spending just a few extra minutes doing that can help prevent roadside fires, which often pose a challenge to firefighters to put out.
"When you look at roadside starts, that's something that can start small wildfires for potentially miles down the road," Hines said. "So, instead of having a single start area, you now have a bunch of little wildfires down the road for an indeterminable amount of length, which makes it hard for firefighters to respond to that fire."
Hines said most wildfires are caused by people, including chain dragging. In fact, a recent 3,000-acre fire in the panhandle was caused by chain dragging.