The lack of rain is both a blessing and a curse for Iowa farmers hustling to harvest corn and beans. Fieldwork is rushing along, but some combines are catching fire in the process. Iowa State University safety specialist Mark Hanna says there are several precautions farmers should take. Hanna says combines are prone to fires because they’re in close contact with combustable materials like leaves, stalks and grain dust — and because the combine itself is a source of heat. Hanna says design changes have been made in newer combines to prevent fires. Hanna says farmers should have some fire-fighting weapons on hand, with extinguishers in the cab and near the ground. The State’s Fire Marshall has issued a ban on open burning in Buena Vista county, with other counties likely candidates if Iowa doesn’t get a soaking rain soon.
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