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Caution: Bear Spray Can Explode

bear spray explosion

Area residents and visitors are being strongly encouraged to purchase and carry bear spray when they are spending time outdoors as this area has become very active with both black and grizzly bears.  However, there have been instances when misuse or improper storage of the canisters of spray have been problematic for people – as evidenced in one incident in Grand Teton National Park over the weekend, where Spokesperson Jackie Skaggs says a young woman was injured when a canister exploded inside her car.  Skaggs says a bear spray can can explode at a temperature of 120°.  In fact, she adds, a car sitting in the sun on a warm summer day can get to temperatures upwards from 180°.  Consequently, she says, “the inside of a passenger car or a truck in the afternoon sun with the windows rolled up can get a very high temperature and lead to the explosion of a bear spray canister that happens to be inside that vehicle.” Aside from being potentially injurious to passengers, a ruptured can can render the inside of a vehicle unusable. Warnings on the cans not only admonish the user that the spray is explosive but some of the sprays are even flammable.  Skaggs adds that when transporting the bear spray, the canister should have the safety securely in place so that it is not accidentally triggered.  Skaggs urgers people to carefully read the label on the can when they first obtain the spray.

NPS Photo: Bear Spray Canister Embedded In Car Ceiling

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