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Farm Safety Week: Good Time to Prevent Combine Fires

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Written Tuesday, September 17, 1996  

Make sure your harvest won't be too hot to handle during National Farm Safety and Health Week, now through Sept. 21.

"Combine fires happen every year," says Chris Eicher, an Ohio State Extension farm safety associate. "Keep the machine clean. Even a small amount of chaff buildup can start a fire."

Leaking fuels, oils or fluids draw chaff, which cakes up. A hot engine, exhaust or short circuit can start a fire that threatens machinery and crops.

Start harvest season by cleaning up from last year. Pressure washers remove caked grease, oil accumulations, and chaff. Check valve covers for oil leaks that can ignite as oil runs down manifolds. Also check for cracked or loose exhaust pipes, ports and check the manifold.

Leaks from fuel lines or from a defective injection system can spray fuels in the engine compartment, creating highly combustible vapors. Check all fuel lines and tubing; tighten connections. Also check the fuel pump, fuel filter, and fuel tank for leaks.

Try not to spill fuel, oil or fluids. If you do, clean it up.

Also check wiring for wear and make sure it's properly routed throughout the machine. Look for worn or melted insulation. Be sure you're using the right size and type of fuses.

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