LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – You may think waste collectors are only surrounded by bad smells and dirty trash, but recently fire has found its way into the equation.

Pictured above is the aftermath of one of the fires that flared up within garbage trucks in the Lansing area, causing a serious safety issue for waste management teams.

Propane tanks, rechargeable batteries, and oil-based paint are just a few of the items wreaking havoc on these garbage trucks.

Fire safety officials say if people become familiar with these hazardous materials, we could greatly decrease these incidents.

“Paint, they include batteries, especially our lithium-ion batteries, fluorescent lightbulbs, certainly aerosol cans, and campfire grill ashes or the charcoal grill ashes,” said the president of E.S.C.A.PE Fire Safety Michael Mcleieer.

Many of these items are marked with a label that says danger or poison, but waste management officials say they run into these items more than they would like.

“We’re seeing them in our trash, we are seeing them in our recycling collection… That main issue right there is safety, that’s our number one concern,” said Granger Waste spokesperson Andrea Davis.

Officials say to check with your county and local municipality to see where solid and hazardous waste can be properly and safely disposed of.

“They are going to be able to give you the safest and best way that’s helpful for the environment, it’s gonna avoid the fire, it’s gonna keep our waste disposal carriers safe, and it’s also going to keep our emergency responders safe,” said Mcleieer.

And waste collectors can do their job without worrying about what they’re picking up.

“All of these fires can be avoided if people just are good about paying attention to what they are putting in their containers,” said Davis.

Fire safety officials say this time of year they commonly find embers and coals from grills in trash cans, which can stay hot for several days, and pose a serious risk.