Extinguishing the risk of harvester fires
Combines are massively expensive machines but for one or two unfortunate operators each year disaster strikes and a fire can take hold.
When it comes to reducing the chance of having a combine blaze, there are two key points to remember: prevention and preparation.
We all remember the 'fire triangle' from our science days back in school, which states that you need three ingredients for a fire: fuel, heat and oxygen.
You can't really do much about the heat from the engine and oxygen from the environment, so to prevent combine fires you have to be extra careful to remove the fuel - the grain and chaff - component. This is best done by keeping the machine clean.
Before you take the combine into the fields in the coming weeks, take the time to power-wash it to remove caked-on grease, oil and crop residue. Get into the good habit of blowing away any chaff, leaves and other crop materials from the machine at the end of each day's work.
It's a good idea, too, to remove any crop residue that has become wrapped around bearings, belts and other moving parts because these can generate significant heat after a few hours working. At the end of a long day harvesting don't be tempted to park a hot, caked-up combine in the shed because smoldering hot spots can spell disaster.
Specific areas to blow out include:
• The engine - especially the exhaust manifold, turbocharger, muffler and exhaust pipe