Boise & Garden City

Watch where you leave your water bottle — Idaho Power truck ignited by sun’s rays

A water bottle and sunlight team up to spark small fire

Sunlight magnified through a water bottle started a small fire in the front seat of an Idaho Power truck.
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Sunlight magnified through a water bottle started a small fire in the front seat of an Idaho Power truck.

Idaho Power employee Dioni Amuchastegui was eating lunch in his truck this week when he noticed something amiss with the water bottle on the seat next to him.

“I looked over and noticed that light was being refracted through a water bottle and was starting to catch the seat on fire,” he said in a video that Idaho Power posted on its Facebook page Thursday.

The light was shining through the driver’s side window. It burned two holes in the seat, Amuchastegui said.

In the video, Idaho Power employees measured the temperature of light rays refracted through a water bottle in the truck. It was found to be between 211 and 213 degrees.

Idaho Power Garage Shop Leader McKinnies’ some advice at the end of the video: “Everybody carries water bottles. If you have one in the cab of the truck, just keep it out of the sun.”

Sunlight magnified through water bottles can cause fires in other places too — like inside a house. A video from Right This Minute shows how that can happen. Water bottles can also be used to start fires in survival situations in the outdoors, according to OutdoorLife.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller

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