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NEWS RELEASE · 29th July 2010
Ministry of Transportation
With the B.C. day long weekend upon us and most of the province tinder-dry, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is encouraging drivers to make sure all cautionary steps are taken to avoid driver-caused fires, said Minister Shirley Bond.

"The majority of forest fires have been human caused," said Bond. "This B.C. Day long weekend, I encourage drivers to take some simple precautions to ensure that they arrive safely at their destinations and avoid contributing to the wildfire situation we are facing in British Columbia."

* Do not throw cigarettes out the window or otherwise be careless when smoking, both during your trip and in roadside rest areas.
* Check fuel lines for cracks, splits, softness and deterioration.
* Keep engine compartments clean. An oil soaked engine is a fuel source looking for a fire.
* Buy a fire extinguisher and carry it mounted where you can get to it quickly.
* Improper installation of aftermarket electronics, like stereos, can lead to fires.
* Where possible avoid driving or parking vehicles in tall, dry grass.
* Avoid handling fuels in grassy or forested areas, and douse any fuel spills with water or sands.
* Monitor the temperature of your vehicle. Pull over and let it cool when necessary and make sure it is topped up with coolant.

Motorists can report wildfires by calling *5555. B.C. forest fire information, including updates on current campfire and burning bans, can be found at http://www.bcforestfireinfo.gov.bc.ca.

"Over B.C. Day long weekends, there are, on average, over 17 hundred crashes, over 500 injuries and three deaths on B.C. roadways," said Minister Bond. "We all play a role in making B.C. roads safer."

Smart driving tips for the B.C. Day long weekend include:

* Plan ahead if your activities are going to involve alcohol, arrange for a safe way home.
* Be realistic about your travel times and check the road situation before you leave.
* Check http://www.drivebc.com for possible highway closures before heading out.
* Slow down and keep your distance, and always follow the posted speed limits in construction and playground zones.
* Buckle up: If you do not wear your seatbelt, you are 25 times more likely to be killed in a crash if ejected from the vehicle.