Risk of Field Fires During Harvest Remains Strong

(Radio Iowa) Field and equipment fires are not uncommon during the fall but the drought has caused a greater potential for problems this year. USDA Midwest Climate Hub director, Dennis Todey, says agricultural and emergency management leaders want to remind everyone about the heightened hazard due to dry crops and vegetation near fields.

“We’re aware of this and just wanted to share that message with people to be aware, react quickly, and be ready to deal with it if something does happen,” he says. The fires can start in hot machines in the field, and they then have plenty of fuel to keep burning.

He says vegetation and other things surrounding crop fields are also very dry and potentially could go up. You add in some windy conditions and fires can quickly get out of hand. Firefighters recently battled a large field fire in Mills County near Emerson that involved several pieces of farm equipment. A dozen farmers with tractors and discs helped contain the fire before it could do any major damage. Todey says the problem will likely continue into November unless the state sees more substantial rainfall. The State Fire Marshal says there are 16 counties with burn bans.

(By Sheila Brummer, Iowa Public Radio)