Farmers work cautiously to avoid farm machine related fires

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Elevated fire danger is expected this Saturday with outdoor burning being discouraged.

“We actually use, or pay a lot of attention to, The National Weather Service this time of year, cause they will issue red flag warnings, or burn warnings,” said Fire Chief Joe Kelley of the Morton Fire Department.

An elevated fire risk, or red flag warning, comes into play when atmospheric conditions are prime for fires to start and spread. Chief Kelley said his team responds to a number of incidents during these times.

“This time of year is probably the busiest season for that. Of course, it’s just a weather factor,” he said.

The weather Chief Kelley is talking about revolves around a few things. Gusty winds up to 45 miles per hour on top of low relative humidity or really dry air work together to create an environment able to spark fires.

“We’d ask that really everyone pay attention to those warnings and not have open fires,” said Kelley.

Farmer Rob Asbell said those operating farm equipment should be careful.

“Well, a combine is a moving vehicle with lots of spinning augers and bearings and anytime something goes wrong with one of those, you can have metal sparking (and) you can have different types of friction going on where there’s just hot fire,” said Asbell.

Asbell said farm related fires can happen to anyone.

“I’ve had a combine, a field start on fire from the back of a combine once where a fuel filter had plugged up and would leak diesel fuel into the field, and it ignited and next thing you know, 30 acres of corn stalks are on fire,” said Asbell.

Here is a link from Chief Meteorologist Chris Yates on the fire weather risk this weekend.

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