How Can Leaving A Bottle Of Water In Your Car Start A Fire?

Here's a summer safety hazard you'd never think of.  Leaving a half-full bottle of water in your car could start a fire. Here's how it can happen. 

When the sun hits a plastic bottle at the right angle, the water in there can act like a lens, and concentrate the light on one specific point. 

It's exactly like that horrible friend you had as a kid who burned ants with a magnifying glass.  Under the right conditions, that pinpoint of light can cause smoldering, or worse. 

A group of firefighters in Oklahoma posted a video last year that shows how it can happen.  And there are a ton of YouTube videos that show how you can do the same thing if you need to start a fire in a survival situation. 


The odds of a water bottle setting your entire car on fire are pretty low.  In most cases, the worst thing that'll happen is it might melt a small hole in your upholstery. 

But if the bottle happens to be next to something flammable, it COULD start a fire.  So if you currently have a bottle of water sitting in your car next to some dry tinder . . . and say, an open can of gasoline . . . you might want to go deal with that.  

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