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Reduce risk of combine and field fires

Media contact: Catherine Dehdashti, U of M Extension, (612) 625-0237, ced@umn.edu

ST. PAUL, Minn. (10/6/2011) —Dry conditions and high winds in several parts of Minnesota are creating a high-risk situation for the spread of fires. For farmers, combine or field fires can result not only in loss of valuable equipment and crop, but also loss of human life, livestock, homes and other property.

"There have been numerous field and combine fires in several counties in southern Minnesota and into Iowa recently," said Liz Stahl, crops educator with University of Minnesota Extension. "With many windy harvest days still ahead of us, this issue isn't likely to go away fast."

Stahl has the following tips for farmers, based on Extension research:

  • Keep equipment clean. Remove crop residues and caked-on grease. This helps eliminate a fuel source for a fire.
  • Maintain your exhaust system in good working order and watch out for worn bearings, belts and chains. This helps eliminate heat sources that can start a fire.
  • Carry at least one, if not two, fire extinguishers with you at all times. Keep one handy when you are in the cab and one handy from the ground. Make sure fire extinguishers are properly maintained.
  • Carry a cell phone or radio with you so you can call for help.
  • Don't risk injury or death to put out a fire. If a fire is too much for you to control or in an area you can't reach without risking injury, wait for help to arrive.
Visit www.extension.umn.edu/go/1082 for a detailed article on preventing combine fires.
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