URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — As harvest season continues, the University of Illinois Extension urged people to be prepared for an increased risk of farm fires.

They said equipment fires, especially combine-related fires, are one of the most common and costly types of farm fire incidents. Trent Ford, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey at the U of I, said this season’s increased risk is due to severe drought conditions in parts of the Midwest. A lack of precipitation, low soil moisture and dry vegetation paired with hot running farm equipment could increase chances of a fire.

“It is extremely important to inspect farm buildings and evaluate storage conditions and upkeep,” said Jay Solomon, Illinois Extension educator who focuses on farm facility management.

Here are safety tips to follow:

  • Check the weather and wait if it’s expected to be dry and windy.
  • Have access to water, fire extinguishers and fire blankets.
  • Maintain, clean and monitor equipment for fire potential.
  • Have smoke detectors in buildings, with alerts connected to your phone.
  • Maintain access to equipment to create potential fire breaks.
  • Ensure the farm address is clearly visible from the road.
  • Always know the exact field identification and location.
  • Have a plan for all livestock.