Top five ways human-caused wildfires start

The Weather Network's Mia Gordon counts down how human-caused wildfires start in North America and provides tips on how to prevent them.

Thousands of wildfires spark across North America each year, and unfortunately, many of those are caused by humans in one way or another. 

Below is a breakdown of the top five ways human-caused wildfires are sparked.

5. Cigarettes

Improper disposal of cigarettes is a significant cause of wildfires, but manufacturers have made changes to reduce the risk.

Each year in the U.S., about 800 fires are started by people improperly throwing out cigarettes, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).

Tip: To help prevent cigarette-ignited wildfires, it is crucial to ensure proper disposal and put out cigarettes correctly.

4. Vehicles and equipment

More than 2,500 fires each year are caused by vehicles and other equipment in the U.S. Ignitions can occur from a variety of sources of mechanical breakdown or malfunction, according to the NIFC.

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During hot and dry weather conditions, branches can also be easily ignited by something as simple as a tire blowout or a warm brake pad, causing metal-on-metal contact that can ignite a flame.

Tip: Drivers should always keep their vehicles well maintained.

SEE ALSO: Wildfire terms every Canadian should be familiar with

3. Burning debris

More than 3,000 fires each year in the U.S. are caused by burning debris.

Debris burn escapes, such as those from burn barrels or burn piles not properly contained or extinguished, are one of the leading specific causes of wildland fires.

Tip: It's important to know the wildfire risk in your area and only burn shrubs and other debris when there is a low risk. You should also check for fire bans ahead of time.

WATCH BELOW: Tips to help protect yourself from wildfire smoke

DON'T MISS: Visit The Weather Network's hub for wildfire information in Canada

2. Arson

While the actual number of arson fires is unclear, the NIFC estimates that they may account for over 20 per cent of all human-caused wildland fires and up to 70 per cent or more fires in some jurisdictions across the U.S.

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Tip: Report any unusual activity in an area where wildfires are occurring or could occur to local fire authorities.

1. Campfires

Campfire safety is essential to reducing the number of wildfires, with over 11,000 fires started by out-of-control campfires each year in the U.S.

Tip: It is essential to check local fire bans, have a stone ring around the fire, keep water nearby, never leave a fire unattended, and ensure the fire is completely out before leaving. Always make sure that before you go, the coals are cold enough that you can touch them safely to make sure that they've been put out properly. For a demonstration on how to safely put out a campfire, click here.

Thumbnail credit: Submitted by Mitch Miller, taken in Hope, B.C.