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Preventing Fires in Your Farm Combine

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Protect your investment and ensure longevity with these fire prevention tips!


Whether you’re in the thick of crop harvesting or the season is winding down, there may be a million things happening on your farm, and sometimes farm safety takes a backseat. We can’t emphasize enough in all the hustle and bustle of it all, to protect the large investment you’ve made on your combine and help prevent fires on your farm.


At Wagner Ag, we feature combines from a handful of premier ag companies to help you in this step in your daily farm operations. Farm safety is imperative and that begins with combine fire prevention! Read more about it in today’s post.

Combine Fire Safety


Managing your farm equipment is just one part of your farm operations and it’s an important one because, after all, you’ve spent a good deal of time in the purchase, maintenance, and storage of your combine to let it go up in flames! Below we’ll cover basic combine fire prevention tips to keep your farm safe and protect your investment.


Thousands of combine fires are reported each year (last year it was roughly 9,000) and of them, around 43% are a result of crop residue. This is a major concern because in all the reaping, threshing, and winnowing that combines do, they collect crop residue and dust in all the nooks and crannies of the combine. Managing this debris collection is the main part in preventing fires in your combine.   


Michigan State University imparts the three P’s in fire prevention including prevention, preparation, and practicality, but we’re going to go beyond the three P’s and relay important fire safety prevention methods for combines.


Clean your combine regularly.


If it’s high harvesting season things can easily be looked over, but it is imperative to keep your combine clean. If you’re using it daily, be sure to clean the engine compartment and exhaust in peak harvesting season. This entails power washing any caked-on residue and debris, oil, and grease.


Dry weather is highly responsible for this residue, so if it’s a particularly dry season, it’s a necessity to clean the combine.  


Inspect your combine daily.


You can often get in a hurry racing the weather or trying to catch up on work, but don’t forego your combine inspection! Every day, before the combine is on the field, give it a good inspection. Inspect for damaged wires, loose components, and any leaks. It’s also important to check the coolant and oil levels.


Fuel safety is highly important in fire prevention, so always give the fuel line a one-over. When fueling up your combine, keep the engine off and let the equipment cool for at least 15 minutes before refueling. If there are any spills, wipe them up as they occur — this prevents debris from collecting near the combine and igniting, causing a fire.


Keep any flammable items away.


Combine fires are a result of a heat source, typically due to any debris or flammable material. This is why it is imperative to check and make sure the exhaust and fuel systems are free from leaks. Be on the lookout for any belts, bearings, or chains that appear to be glowing red-hot — this is a sure-fire sign there is an issue and an active heat source.


For example, once a rubber belt is subjected to extreme heat, it can burst into flames.  


If you’re cleaning and inspecting your combine every day before it goes out in the field and it starts on fire, below are fire safety tips to follow if it does ignite.


Carry a fire extinguisher.


Protect your combine from any further fire damage by carrying a 10-pound ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher — two are highly recommended. Keep one extinguisher in the cab with you and the other where it can be accessed from the ground.


Keeping dry extinguishers charged is the key, so ensure you are also keeping the partially discharged extinguishers charged.


Get out of harm’s way.


The most important thing to do when there is a fire is to get out of the combine and call 911 as you begin to extinguish the fire.


Combine fires are tricky because although they seem small and contained, they can quickly grow as a result of air be added.


If the fire flares and begins to flare and ignite your field, be cautious, but try to contain it by tilling a strip around the fire in hopes to contain it.


Always remember your safety first, after all, combines can be replaced!

If you’re gearing up for the high harvest season remember to clean and inspect your combine every day for fire prevention, and if a fire does occur, try to contain it as best you can but stay safe!

Improve your operations with a combine optimal for your farm and peruse our new and used farm equipment today!