With so much demand placed on agricultural equipment at harvest time, it is no surprise that combines and tractors are at risk of fires. The warmer the temperatures and the drier the weather conditions, the greater that fire risk. If you haven't taken that fire risk seriously up to now, it's never too late. After all, you never know when a fire could occur. Here are a few tips to help you minimize your risk of fire occurrence during your harvest periods.
What Causes the Increased Risk of Fires During Harvest?
Crop residue creates a dusty environment and when paired with the fuel in your equipment engines, you have a very real fire risk. Add to that the heat from the tractor exhaust and the sparks from the engine and you have a perfect environment for fire.
How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Fire?
Active fire prevention measures are key when you're out in the field. The more proactive you are about prevention, the safer you and your equipment are likely to be. Here are a few things you can do to minimize your risk.
- Keep your equipment clean. Make a point to clean the engine compartment and the exhaust system of your combines and tractors every day. If you're in the midst of a heavy harvest period and working in a particularly dusty field, you might want to clean them twice a day. Compressed air is a great way to clear out chaff, dust and other debris. For any grease buildup or accumulation of hydraulic fluid, use your pressure washer. This helps to keep the fuel sources away, which limits your risk of fire.
- Inspect your machines before every harvest shift. Make sure you evaluate all of the fuel lines, belts, fittings, hoses and electrical wiring. Anything that's cracked, damaged or leaking should be repaired before the equipment is sent out onto the field.
- Keep up with the maintenance schedules. The vibration encountered during harvesting can cause things to come loose, which can be damaging. In addition, the friction caused by insufficient lubrication can cause sparks, which may be a sufficient ignition source to spark a fire. Always keep up with the manufacturer's recommended maintenance to reduce this risk.
- Install fire suppression systems. There are many integrated fire suppression systems that you can install on your combines and tractors. Look for multi-purpose extinguishers that will combat crop residue fires, fuel oil and electrical fires. Every tractor and combine should have at least one extinguisher, if not two. You might also want to look to a fire suppression company to install an automatic extinguishing system in the engine bay.
The more proactive you are about protecting your equipment, the less risk you'll have of a tractor fire. This also saves you in potential losses from damaged crops, as a fire in the field could be a serious hazard to your crop growth, too. Contact a company like Echo Fire Protection for more information.