Luggage rack on car ignites, starts brush fire

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Some items on a car’s luggage rack caught fire and started the Sycamore fire that burned 200 acres on Highway 87 outside the Tonto National Forest near Sunflower, Arizona on Thursday. According to a story at myFOX phoenix, a driver noticed smoke coming from the luggage rack on his car, stopped and removed the burning items which fell to the ground and started the fire. The driver burned his arm while he was taking the burning luggage off the car. The fire was about 70% contained at 9 p.m. Thursday night and was being managed by Weeks’ Type 3 Incident Management Team.

Any suggestions on what ignition sources could start a fire on a car’s luggage rack? Perhaps faulty electronics inside the luggage, or hot carbon particles from the exhaust of a truck?

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

2 thoughts on “Luggage rack on car ignites, starts brush fire”

  1. More likely a cigarette flipped out of a window (from this car or another) lodging in the luggage and being fanned by the air into a fire.

  2. I’m going with the consumer electronics.

    One of my old wireless broad band modems stopped working one day.

    When I went to fiddle with it, the case was prying itself off — the lithium battery was expanding. Took that sucker out of the house ASAP.

    The replacement doesn’t have a battery!


    Many years ago after I climbed a ladder with an indian tank to extinguish a tree that was smoldering 15′ off the ground…on a 20º day in January with 8″ of fresh snow on the ground…I learned that fires can start anywhere, anytime 🙂

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