Due to quick actions from neighbours, a field fire two miles south east of Burr was contained before it spread to two neighbouring crop fields.
The Humboldt Fire Department responded on Sept. 7 at 3:45 p.m. to the field with two trucks and two command units.
The cause of the fire was determined to be a combine header, likely due to a bearing or a mechanical failure, which spread south east across the field around it.
Mike Kwasnica, Humboldt’s director of protective services and fire chief, said that the landowner phoned emergency services and disconnected the combine from the header, while the neighbours brought over heavy equipment and began to dig a fire break around that field.
Response took about 15 minutes.
“Due to the quick actions of the neighbours that brought in cultivators and tractors they did a majority of a fire stopping that was provided before we were even able to do anything,” Kwasnica said.
“They did fire breaks all around the fire and when the fire reached the fire break it just stopped.”
Kwasnica said the site was surrounded by two planted crop fields causing a risk of the fire spreading another half-mile without a fire break in place.
In cases like this, Kwasnica said there is little a producer can do to prevent a mechanical failure fire beyond diligence and keeping the equipment maintained properly, which Kwasnica said appeared to be the case with the apparatus appearing to be well-maintained.
“I just definitely want to put a kudos to the neighbors and their hard work and quick actions to prevent it,” he said.
“Anything we go to that’s out in a field, [if] we can get anybody with a cultivator and tractor – it does a tremendous amount of work for us.”
The combine header sustained an “extreme” amount of damage.
Kwasnica said it appeared that all the crops that were damaged were already combined, and the combine sustained no damage as it was successfully disconnected.
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal