Combine Fire Prevention
Harvest season is in full swing, and we have been blessed with some rain, however conditions are still dry and conducive for fires. In this week’s extension update, we will discuss steps to prevent combine fires, precautionary steps to take and what to do when a fire occurs.
icon search Searchable Transcript
Toggle between list and paragraph view.
[00:00:00.270]This is Amy Timmerman with this week’s
[00:00:03.830]Harvest season is in full swing, and
we have been blessed with some rain,
[00:00:07.510]however conditions are still dry
and conducive for fires.
[00:00:11.191]In this week’s extension update,
we will discuss steps to
[00:00:13.926]prevent combine fires,
precautionary steps to take
[00:00:16.838]and what to do when a fire occurs.
[00:00:19.269]So, how to prevent combine fires
[00:00:21.216]1. Keep combines clean–majority of fires
start around the engine,
[00:00:26.094]turbo charger and exhaust system.
[00:00:28.201]Thus, manufacturers recommend
cleaning the machine
[00:00:30.628]after shutting down at the end of every day.
[00:00:32.838]Paying close attention to remove
accumulated crop residue.
[00:00:35.742]Battery or gas-powered leaf
blowers are great tools to provide
[00:00:39.221]high quantities of air to move debris
off the machine while out in the field.
[00:00:43.591]Also consider periodically power
washing to remove grease and oil,
[00:00:46.845]which can allow a small fire to spread quickly.
[00:00:49.900]2. Don’t Park equipment near flashy fuels
[00:00:52.807]Let combines cool down before parking them
[00:00:55.276]inside a machine shed
after harvesting all day.
[00:00:57.965]If parked out in the field, try to park
on a fire-resistant surface.
[00:01:01.627]Sparks and malfunctions
can occur at any time
[00:01:04.631]and crop debris can continue to smolder
[00:01:07.248]if the machine is not cleaned
at the end of the day.
[00:01:10.053]3. Reduce combine engine load
[00:01:12.847]– increasing harvest speed
and putting combine engines
[00:01:15.829]under a lot of stress
increases the chances of fire.
[00:01:19.061]When possible, reduce harvest
speed and reduce engine stress
[00:01:22.960]And finally 4. Keep bearings cool
[00:01:25.855]Check bearings daily
looking for wear and tear.
[00:01:28.960]If you own infrared thermometer, check
bearings once the machine has warmed up.
[00:01:33.420]Bearings will typically
run between 125-150 F.
[00:01:37.630]Once bearing are reaching
temperatures around 180 F,
damage can occur.
[00:01:43.198]If bearing temperatures reach above 300 F,
shut the machine off immediately.
[00:01:48.819]Being prepared is one of the big
keys to prevent a major disaster.
[00:01:52.759]Here is some other precautionary
steps you may also want to take.
[00:01:56.519]1. When starting to harvest a field,
consider starting on the
downwind side of the field.
[00:02:01.339]This way if a fire does occur,
the flames will be pushed toward
the harvested portion of the field.
[00:02:07.139]2. Always carry a cell phone or alternative for
communicating with others in case of a fire.
[00:02:13.244]3. Carry a minimum of one 10 lb ABC dry
chemical fire extinguisher stored
in or near the cab of the combine.
[00:02:21.517]When you are using a fire extinguisher
remember PASS - P - Pull the Pin
[00:02:26.073]A - Aim the nozzle; S - Squeeze the trigger; and
finally S - Sweep across the base of the fire.
[00:02:33.481]During the harvest season, invert and shake
the extinguisher once or twice to prevent
[00:02:37.992]machine vibration from consolidating the
dry chemicals at the bottom of the canister.
[00:02:43.790]4. Know the location of the field in
relationship to letter or number on county roads
[00:02:49.255]5. Have a tractor hooked to a disk
near the field you are harvesting
[00:02:53.521]and 6. Have a large water tank
with water near the field.
[00:02:57.687]Now, we can do all these precautionary
steps and fires can still occur.
[00:03:01.451]So what do we do once a fire has started?
[00:03:04.443]1. Immediately pull the machine,
[00:03:07.441]into adjacent areas that have
already been harvested.
[00:03:10.821]2. Turn the machine off.
[00:03:12.232]The air intake systems and fans
keep providing oxygen
[00:03:15.656]to the flames if machine continues working.
[00:03:20.152]3. Call 911 before trying to
extinguish the fire yourself.
[00:03:24.376]Depending on location,it may take 30
minutes or longer before the
[00:03:27.633]fire department can reach the scene.
[00:03:30.067]Adrenaline is flowing but provide
dispatch with as much detail
[00:03:33.469]regarding your location as possible.
[00:03:36.249]Include county road names
and numbers or precise description such as
[00:03:40.690]5 miles east and 4 mile north
of Farmer Brown’s house.
[00:03:44.695]The advantage of our volunteer fire
departments is their knowledge of
[00:03:47.900]where people live in the area.
[00:03:50.366]However, it does occur every year that a
department will get a called out a fire
[00:03:54.634]and told that it is located “northeast
of town” and the department must
[00:03:58.558]look for the smoke to locate the fire
delaying their response time.
[00:04:03.190]4. Use the fire extinguisher if
you can easily reach the fire.
[00:04:07.618]Do not climb onto burning
machinery to put it out.
[00:04:10.575]It is not worth the risk of the loss of your
life or sever injury to save the machine.
[00:04:16.049]And Finally 5.
If a combine is beyond control,
[00:04:19.314]focus on keeping it from spreading to the
surrounding vegetation by either putting
[00:04:23.401]a disc line around it or wetting
down the surrounding area.
[00:04:26.709]Even with all the machine maintenance,
sanitation, preparedness and awareness,
[00:04:30.416]fires can still occur.
[00:04:32.703]However, these steps will help to prevent a
major disaster from occurring and help
[00:04:36.834]reduce the total amount of loss experienced.
[00:04:40.144]If you have questions regarding fire
awareness and preparedness
[00:04:43.697]please reach out to your contact your
local fire department or your local
[00:04:46.477]extension educator for more information.
[00:04:49.558]This has been Amy Timmerman
with Nebraska Extension.
Log in to post comments