It was a great growing season for much of Ohio, and many farmers have been able to get a head start on their harvest. But that early harvest amid warm, dry conditions brings an added risk of combines catching fire.
Combine fires were reported in fields in Crawford, Miami and Shelby counties last week, according to Rory Lewandowski, an educator in the Ohio State University Extension Office.
The fire in Shelby County left a man with serious burns.
Hot weather and a lack of rain means dry corn and soybean fields. Lewandowski says combine fires are always a risk, but the current warm weather is exacerbating the problem because dry plant material mixes with heat from the combine's motor.
“If we would have rainfall move in and our fields woud…have a higher moisture content, that would certainly help, if temperatures cooled down,” Lewandowski said.
Lewandowski recommends farmers keep combines lubricated to minimize friction and potential fire. He also says farmers should regularly inspect the exhaust system on combines.