Exceptionally dry conditions in the northwest part of the state have contributed to several small fires over the past week. To prevent a possible wildfire, the Department of Natural Resources urges extreme caution when using farm equipment right now.
To reduce the chances of starting a wildfire when working in the field, follow these steps:
- Make sure machinery is well maintained and working properly to prevent overheating and the formation of sparks.
- When cutting or mowing, be aware of rocks that may cause sparks if struck by mower blades.
- Check that all fire extinguishers are appropriate for the size of the machinery, are fully charged, and are easily accessible.
- Carry an ABC rated fire extinguisher – it can be used for electrical and petroleum-based fires originating on the tractor and for vegetative fires.
- Check and remove combustible vegetation from motors, exhausts, ledges and brackets several times a day.
- Remove debris from the surface of the baler using a portable gas-powered leaf blower.
- Keep hay in groups of 10 bales or fewer and at least 100 feet away from structures or other ignition sources.
- Firebreaks – 30 feet of mowed grass, bare ground, or rock between bale groups – will help prevent fire from extending to additional bales.
- Frequently check to see if stored hay is hot or has internal fire (noted by a caramel or strong burning odor, visible vapor or smoke, strong musty smell, or all of the above).
- Do not move overheated or smoldering hay.
- Immediately call 911 if fire occurs and provide clear directions to your location.
- Check the weather – avoid running equipment on days with warm temperatures, high winds, and low humidity.
- Plan your day – take advantage of mornings and evenings that tend to have calmer winds, cooler temperatures, and higher humidity.
Find more information about fire danger at mndnr.gov/burnrestrictions.