Roads and highways ‘high risk’ areas for sparking flames

MEDFORD, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Transportation mows I-5 along with multiple highways across Jackson and Josephine Counties during the spring and summertime to try and reduce fire risk.

Still, the agency says the work they do isn’t enough to prevent catastrophic fires.

They start mowing operations from April till the end of August and have three mowers used on I-5, Highway 62, 140, 66, and others.

They mow down the grass on the right of way and median so if a fire does spark, the flames wouldn’t spread as quickly. But with the fire danger level currently at high, the agency says drivers on the road must be cautious and responsible.

“Don’t smoke and throw your butts out the window, that’s a sure way to start a fire,” said Gary Leaming, Oregon Department of Transportation. “Don’t drive on the grassy areas of the right of way especially when it’s really dry.”

ODOT says you should also check your catalytic converter and make sure it’s functioning properly. Or if you’re towing a vehicle, don’t let safety chains dangle and hit the pavement.

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