Mountain biker ignites forest fire in Austria

Blaze presumably started when hot brake rotor lit up dry grass

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Forest Fire in Austria

Several mountain bikers attempt to beat down the flames with brush which ultimately failed to stop the spread of the fire. Photo courtesy of ORF TVTHEK

Most of us know how hot disc brake rotors can get on long downhill descents. Some of us even have the burn scars to prove it. But according to Austria’s Vorarlberg.orf.at, a forest fire broke out last Sunday in Nüziders, Austria, after a mountain biker laid his bike down to rest after a long descent down the famous singletrack trails the area is renowned for.

The fire started near the Muttersberg cable car line; popular transportation for tourists wanting to visit the area's unique attractions which include hiking and mountain bike trails. Photo by Bernd Hofmeister / Vorarlberg.orf.at

The fire started near the Muttersberg cable car line. Photo by Bernd Hofmeister / Vorarlberg.orf.at

The rider tried to put out the fire himself, but after an unsuccessful attempt he alerted the authorities. The fire started near the Muttersberg cable car line, which had to be temporarily stopped while fire officials extinguished the blaze.

Police claim the fire was started by the mountain biker and may have been triggered when an overheated rotor on the rider’s bike made contact with a dried tuft of grass. No one was harmed by the fire.

To learn more check out the original article here.


About the author: Justin Wages

As a stage 4 colon cancer survivor, Justin Wages got into the cycling world in an effort to increase his endurance after losing his left lung. As a California native and growing up with a skateboard and snowboard beneath his feet it wasn’t long before the thrill of mountain biking gripped him. Justin’s day job as a Land & Recreation Manager helps him understand the balance between conservation and trail use. He also works with his fiancé, Jeni, to bring more women into the mountain bike world with certified skills clinics and education. “My goal is to get more people on trails for health and enjoyment,” he says. “I want to help them overcome their mental or physical limitations and be the best person they can be, while expanding their appreciation for our natural world.”


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  • p brig says:

    And then they shut down the trails…

  • R. Wilson says:

    Interesting article. Although I know rotors can get very hot I never really thought of one getting hot enough to start a fire. I’ll keep that in mind on my next trip to the mountains. Might be time to include a warning tag when selling a bike with rotors just to let the buyers be aware of the possible risk.

  • R. Wilson says:

    @dan…Hard to believe that someone thought it necessary to burn the toilet paper. You can buy biodegradable toilet paper from the camping stores FWIW. Funny but I bet the guy was ready to crap out another one when he saw what was happening. Anyway, brings new meaning to the term, “Dumpster Fire”.

  • DK says:

    Not sure how he laid down his bike.
    Usually you put the left side on the ground, to avoid the rear mech touching the ground, but then the hot burning rotor intact with the dried easy burnt leaves..

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