A South Dakota grower baling CRP land on Sept. 1 wasn’t prepared for the baler fire that burned his baler, part of his field – and his neighbor’s yard. In the photo below, see the charred field in the foreground and the remainder being baled with another baler the day after the fire.
A number of hay-baler fires have been reported this harvest season, according to recent Google and YouTube searches. So carry a water-filled fire extinguisher when haying dry crop this fall, say North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension personnel.
“Available from most fire departments for about $120, these refillable, air-pressure-operated fire extinguishers can save a combine or baler when carried on the machine where they can be quickly accessed and used,” according to the NDSU reminder.
A simple spade can also be used to smother or bury a small fire before it becomes a big fire. Wet down grass or stubble before using welders or torches in the field. Even a 2-gallon pump-up hand sprayer can extinguish fire if used at the right time.
“Mowing grass around buildings can provide a fire break. Even if the mowed grass is brown and dry, it still provides an area where fire will move slowly and can be easily extinguished.”
Call 911 immediately, NDSU personnel urge. “The time lost trying to fight a fire yourself and then calling 911 after it is completely out of control can make a huge difference in the final outcome.”
Keep sprayer nurse tanks full of water and ready to go. Local fire departments really appreciate it when a farmer shows up with an extra 1,000 or 1,500 gallons of water. Even 500 gallons at the right time can make a huge difference, NDSU Extension workers say.