We did have some small amount of excitement this year while harvesting wheat. It was the perfect storm in many ways, mostly in good ways thankfully!
It was on one of those really super hot days we have been having here at the tail end of summer. Probably in the high 90’s and we were two rounds into a field of standing wheat. Hoot had just climbed in the cab with Matt and I to make a few rounds (to make sure we are doing it right of course!) and as we turn the corner in the combine he starts to yell and point, “Burning Mommy!” And sure enough I looked to where he was pointing and saw flames 15 feet in the air….chaos quickly ensued. “Fire!” over the radio, meanwhile one of our guys saw the flames and was running to his rig to get extinguishers. Equipment driving out of the field as fast as possible, a call to 911…it was all very crazy!
Here are the things that went wrong…our best guess is that the sickle bar hit a rock and caused a spark, which caused the field to start on fire very quickly. The wheat is incredibly dry when we are harvesting so it doesn’t take much for fire to start and spread very rapidly.
But here’s what went right. Firefighter Hoot was on scene and spotted the blaze quickly! We had everyone there! Both truck drivers, my dad, Matt and myself were all miraculously in the field at that moment. 90% of the time it’s just the combine driver and maybe a truck driver, not much for manpower. The wind was blowing away from the standing wheat so it spread the fire as far as the headland and then stopped. We had plenty of fire extinguishers and the guys moved fast to wet the standing wheat and put out small spot fires. It was a great job done by everyone!
We were lucky that day, this whole thing could have been a very different story if the wind had shifted, if it had happened just 30 minutes before…really the what-ifs are endless. I have never harvested looking back in my mirrors so much in my life! It was also a little nerve wracking harvesting next to the burned area on the next round, I am pretty sure I was holding my breath! I can honestly say this year I was glad to put the combine away on the hottest days that were yet to hit a few weeks ago. Here’s to hoping that never happens again, and if it does, we get all the things that “went right” again!