It was a hot, windy day in Southern California when a trash truck caught fire and the driver dumped the burning garbage on the side of the road. Minutes later, powerful winds blew the flames across a hillside and into a mobile home community, killing two people and destroying dozens of homes.
No California law governs how trash haulers respond to a fire in their truck, leaving it to the waste industry to provide guidance. The industry has long recommended drivers quickly unload burning garbage to ensure their safety, prevent explosions and limit damage to vehicles that can cost up to $300,000.
Now, as California braces for several days of hot, windy weather, industry leaders are taking a second look at whether the guidance makes sense when the threat of wildfires is high.