Harvesting during dry temperatures may spark flames

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. —  Dry temperatures in Alabama have caused some major concern for fire crews and farmers.

Farmer Steve Tate grows soy beans, cotton, and many other things. He knows soy bean fields can be a fire threat; especially during dry temperatures.

"Once that crop is harvested you've got a solid layer of fuel out there so any kind of spark or flame may keep going if you get any little wind behind it," Farmer Steve Tate said.

Tate said a farmer's field catching fire is rare, but it can happen.

"While harvesting, that's not dirt out in the field that's plant material. It's real fine and when you get enough of that together it is flammable. It's everywhere inside a machine."

So with the plant material, dry conditions, and strong winds he said it's a recipe for disaster during harvest season. He said it's important to get regular maintenance done on the farming equipment too.

"The biggest risk we have of fire is from a cotton picker or combine. It's just a very complex machine and a lot of moving parts," Tate said.

He said nearly all farmers have crop insurance, but it only covers natural fire damage. Farmers also might have insurance foe their equipment.

It's been a long time since Tate's farm has seen any sparks, but he knows what kind of disaster it can cause.