Agriculture fire prevention during the harvest season

The UK experienced record-breaking temperatures in June 2023, surpassing historical data dating back to 1884. These unprecedented heatwaves present significant challenges for the farming community. The scorching conditions arrived in early June, resulting in the first fire claims being reported.

Meteorologists are predicting an increase in the likelihood of Britain experiencing a hot summer, with a probability of 45% – 2.3 times higher than the average. While it may not reach the extreme temperatures of 40 degrees like we saw in July 2022, it is evident that heatwaves will occur in the future, leading to potentially harmful consequences.

Throughout the year, the demand for food production remains constant. Every year, farmers experience a busy and hectic period as they rush to harvest their crops on time, ensuring the shelves are stocked and the nation is fed.

However, we have learned from previous years that the combination of harvest demands, and intense heat can present challenging issues for our farming communities. From crops drying up to machinery troubles, we understand the difficulties they face.

Fire risk to farmers

Preventing fires is crucial to avoid the devastating consequences they can have on crops and other assets. While insurance policies provide compensation, they cannot address the immediate aftermath of a fire, which may result in the loss of crops. It takes years to recover from such losses, along with the additional expense of hiring contractors to complete the harvesting process.

Additionally, it is important to be aware of the risk of overheating in agricultural machinery, especially if these reliable vehicles have been inactive for a while or have not undergone necessary checks before being used.

A fire risk is also applicable to Horseboxes, as leaving them dormant for a long period of time increases the risk of fire due to deteriorating rubber hoses. Therefore, taking preventive measures is essential to safeguard your investments and avoid these potential risks.

So, what valuable insights can we offer our dedicated farmers to ensure their machines stay safe and prevent any potential fire hazards this Summer?

The first step is to diligently follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to maintaining and cleaning essential machinery. While this may appear as simple advice, it should not be overlooked, especially during busy periods. This helps prevent the accumulation of hot chaff around the engine, which can potentially ignite. Ultimately, adhering to the recommended daily routine of clearing out any chaff, as suggested by the machine manufacturers, is crucial for long-term benefits and cost-effectiveness.

Additionally, we strongly advise conducting regular checks on hydraulic hoses for any indications of wear and tear. It’s important to note that hydraulic fluid is highly flammable, and if it sprays out of a split hose under pressure, it can be as dangerous as a flamethrower.

Let’s spread the word

Damage to machinery is an unfortunate but inevitable part of farming. It’s in everyone’s best interest to share these important messages, especially when it comes to fires where a lack of evidence can slow down the claims process.

In other situations, like when farmers repair machines themselves, it’s crucial to keep the damaged parts and preserve the evidence trail.

Farmers are encouraged to have water readily available in the field, such as a water bowser and a simple pump, in case of a minor fire. It is important to prioritize the safety of life and ensure that no harm is caused.

While we can’t predict what the next few Summers will bring, it’s clear that warmer weather is becoming more common. This means we need to step up our efforts in safeguarding delicate and high-value machinery.

For any Agriculture enquiries, contact our team on 03330 175 8779

Story provided by Malcolm Cawsey, Agriculture Product Manager, ERS