Many wildfires in southwest Oregon start as grass fires. They start surprisingly easy – by a lawnmower blade striking a rock, a pickup truck’s exhaust pipe dragging across grass on a dirt road, an electric fence wire snapping against a metal post – and spread quickly. It doesn’t take very much wind or slope for a grass fire to grow from a fire a few yards in size to a wildfire spanning several acres.
To keep a grass fire from turning into a destructive wildfire, cut tall, dry grass before fire season begins. Roadsides and along driveways are common places for vehicle-caused grass fires to start. Pay special attention to places where vehicles may stop and idle, such as around mailboxes, gates and turnouts. Cutting grass around homes and outbuildings, such as workshops and barns, reduce the chance of accidental fires caused by malfunctioning equipment, smokers and children (or adults) with fireworks.