Closings, Cancellations and Delays

Drought-Fire Prevention

Drought-Fire Prevention

Preventing Wildfires on the Farm and Ranch

South Dakota Ag Connection - June 12, 2017

UNDATED - Because of dry conditions across much of the state, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture's Wildland Fire Division (SDWF) urges farmers and ranchers to be prepared in case a wildfire starts while they are baling.

"Fire safety in the field has two key components -- prevention and preparation in case a fire does break out," said division director Jay Esperance. "Both are important and can mean the difference between disaster and controlling the situation for minimum of damage or work stoppage."

SDWF shares these fire safety reminders:

- All machinery should contain an approved fire extinguisher of adequate size that is easily accessible. There are two types of extinguishers, the powder extinguisher for electrical and petroleum based fires and the water extinguisher for vegetative fires. You may need to carry both kinds of extinguishers.

- Store hay away from combustibles such as gasoline, fertilizers and pesticides, as well as open burning areas like burn barrels, brush piles and vegetative burning.

- Leave 30 feet of mowed grass, bare ground or rock between the bale groups, creating a solid fire break.

- When cutting hay in open pastures, make sure the sickle bar or cutting discs are set above any protruding rocks. Sparks from the impact of the metal hitting rocks while cutting hay in pastures or road ditches start wildland fires every year in South Dakota.

If a fire occurs:

- Remain calm and call 911 immediately. Provide clear, concise directions to your location. Many field and bin sites do not have 911 addresses, so be prepared to identify an intersection or landmark to help responders find the exact location.

- To help control field fires until firefighters arrive, quickly disk a fire break approximately 15 feet wide around the fire.

- To assist with a structural fire, make sure there are no flammable objects nearby and if the circuit panel is safely accessible turn off the building's electricity. If time allows, evacuate any livestock. Also, if possible spray high-pressure water on any surrounding vegetation or structures, discouraging spreading embers. Do not take risks.

- After using any equipment to fight a fire, look it over thoroughly for any embers that may start the equipment on fire.

Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785