7 steps to prevent combine fires

A combine fire during harvest could be devastating. Not only do you risk losing your crop, a fire also could result in costly damages to the combine and other property, and limit your time to complete the harvest.

This year, farmers face an increased risk of fire due to the extreme heat and drought.

Follow these steps for a safe harvest:

Before harvest
•  Do a complete maintenance check of the combine. This includes:
        •  Cleaning the combine to remove any oil, grease, or residue buildup.
        •  Checking the guards, brakes, and safety devices.
        •  Reviewing all working parts for any damage or leaks.
        •  Reading the manufacturer’s instructions.

While operating the combine
•  Use a leaf blower or broom to get rid of chaff, dust, and crop residue on your machinery every 4-6 hours.
•  Carry a fire extinguisher in the cab, plus another that can be reached from the ground. Check these
   extinguishers periodically to make sure they are working properly.
•  Shut off the engine and let it cool for 15 minutes before refueling.

•  Inspect the exhaust system for any leaks or damage, and look for any exposed or deteriorated wiring.
•  Check the following parts of the combine:
        •  Bearings – look for excessive heat or wear
        •  Belts – make sure they have the proper tension to reduce friction and wear
        •  Fittings – make sure they are greased
        •  Fuel, oil, and hydraulic lines
        •  Lubricant levels
•  Clean off the combine at the end of harvest each day.