Hot Spots: Safe Operation of an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV)

Onion Lake Trail

What is an OHV?

The Traffic Safety Act defines an OHV as any motorized vehicle built for cross-country travel, including:

  • dirt bikes, motorcycles, mini-bikes and related two-wheel vehicles
  • all-terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • utility terrain vehicles
  • miniature motor vehicles
  • amphibious vehicles

What is a Hot Spot?

Hot spots occur when vegetation and debris build up on an OHV in one of four main places: the exhaust and muffler, under the seat, the wheel wells and in the engine and manifold.

Exhaust systems heat up to temperatures in excess of 204°C, which is hot enough to fry an egg or start a wildfire. At these temperatures, grass, muskeg, moss or other debris that has built up on your machine can heat up, smoulder and ignite. That smouldering debris can then drop to the ground as you’re riding, potentially starting a wildfire.

If you’re planning to hit the trails, here are some tips to reduce the risk of your OHV sparking a wildfire.


What you can do:

  • Before you ride, clean out your hot spots and remove debris from your machine
  • After riding through muskeg or tall grass, stop and remove any debris that has built up underneath
  • Carry a small shovel, collapsible pail or fire extinguisher in case a small wildfire starts
  • Wash your machine and keep it clean (Do not wash it in streams, rivers or creeks)
  • Make sure your muffler and spark arrestor are working properly
  • Stop frequently. Take the time to knock debris from your machine’s hot spots. If the debris is smouldering, soak it with water and make sure it’s cold to the touch.

photo 2

Remember that if you are found responsible for starting a wildfire, you may be charged under the Forest and Prairie Protection Act and be held responsible for the cost of extinguishing the wildfire.

If you see smoke or a wildfire, call 310-FIRE immediately to report it.

Before you hit the road on your off-highway vehicle, make sure to check out for information on fire advisories, restrictions and bans across the province.

Safe riding!

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