National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Responding To Vehicle Fires


Suppression of vehicle fires is extremely dangerous and poses many health and safety hazards to firefighters. The following procedures are recommended:

  • Wear a high-visibility reflective vest or other high-visibility clothing.
  • Secure the scene and provide or request assistance for traffic control.
  • Park your vehicle to provide a protective barricade for you and your crew. Position it so that an inattentive or drunk driver will hit your vehicle and not your crew. Your vehicle is expendable; you are not.
  • Provide for your escape route at the scene.
  • Do not use road flares if fuel is leaking from the vehicle.
  • Do not breathe any smoke. Smoke from vehicle fires contains toxic chemicals that will kill you.
  • Vehicle fires are considered a hazardous materials scene. Suppression action should only be taken if the crew is trained, equipped, and authorized in the use of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).
  • If taking suppression action on wildland fuels, firefighters should ensure that they are a safe distance from the burning vehicle (100 feet minimum), and avoid contact with vehicle fire smoke or fumes.


Vehicles - Roads
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Nov 2021

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