The potential risk for combine and field fires is significantly higher during this harvest season, exacerbated by extremely dry conditions. 

Most of Iowa is considered in severe drought, with 38 counties listed in extreme drought, making preparations for tackling possible fires essential as the corn and soybean harvest hits full stride.

Joshua Michel, Iowa State University (ISU) field agronomist for northeast Iowa, says all it takes to start a fire is a spark from an engine, an overheated bearing on a combine or a hot exhaust manifold where some dirt and dry plant material have gathered.

“Fires cause millions of dollars in damage, including loss of machinery, crops and time,” said Michel. “There’s always an increased risk of fires during harvest season, but the extended dry conditions across much of Iowa have greatly increased these...