Home NewsAustralia Bumper crops at risk of going up in smoke with a spike in farm fires in WA’s south-west

Bumper crops at risk of going up in smoke with a spike in farm fires in WA’s south-west

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A high-yield harvest might be extra of a curse than a blessing for a few of West Australia’s Nice Southern farmers, as emergency providers reply to an increase in tools fires.

Emergency providers have attended 5 fires within the area within the final week, all originating from harvest tools.

4 of the fires began inside headers, and one from a chaser bin.

Chief bushfire management officer for the Shire of Narrogin, Pip Porter, noticed the destruction firsthand.

“For me it was a bit scary, however I believe it might have been so much scarier for the farmer to see their machine go up like that,” Mr Porter stated.

“When the precise machine goes up there may be a number of black smoke due to the tyres.”

Mr Porter has held varied incident response roles for the Shire of Narrogin.

He stated this season is already one of many worst he is skilled.

“It’s extremely uncommon, we have had entire seasons the place we haven’t any fires in any respect,” Mr Porter stated.

“That is most likely the busiest that I’ve [seen] for a good whereas.

Mr Porter believes elevated crop yields are a contributing issue.

“As a result of we’re having such a great season…there’s much more bulk going by the machine, so the headers set to work that little bit tougher,” he stated.

“[There’s] additionally much more mud… the extra mud you get floating round and a little bit of static electrical energy off the machines, in case you’ve received a bearing going a bit sizzling and you have straw and dirt sitting on it… that each one may cause a fireplace to begin.”

Man stands in high visibility clothing leaning on a utility vehicle with a water tank on the back
Chief Bushfire Management Officer for the Shire of Narrogin Pip Porter has attended a number of header fires this week. (Equipped: Pip Porter)

All of the fires had been introduced underneath management shortly after they begun, however the harm prompted was nonetheless important.

On Saturday, one farmer north of Narrogin misplaced 20 hectares in underneath an hour.

Mr Porter stated whereas the harm was contained to the properties this time, there may be all the time danger of additional unfold.

“It was most likely solely about 50 metres off the principle street, it might have jumped into the neighbour’s wheat crop and would have taken off.”

Mr Porter stated whereas tools fires are sometimes the results of unhealthy luck, extra upkeep and preparation might be the distinction between a small fireplace and a catastrophe.

“Get out and stroll across the header, verify the bearings, verify the belts, and simply make sure all the things is okay and there is no sizzling spots.”

“And ensure your fireplace models are filled with water and gas and set to go.”

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