PEI

Farmers urged to be mindful of fire risks after close call in field

The dry, hot weather is creating fire concerns for some Island farmers.

'The sparks were just jumping from windrow to windrow of straw'

Firefighters responded to a field on Grahams Road in Queens County on Saturday. (Bertha Campbell)

The dry, hot weather is creating fire concerns for some Island farmers.

Bertha Campbell, co-owner of Mull Na Bienne Farms Limited on Grahams Road in Queens County, says they were baling straw on Saturday when the baler overheated and caught fire.

They used fire extinguishers, and a neighbour with a water truck kept the water on the baling equipment until the fire department arrived.

Campbell said they could have lost their tractor — or worse.

"The sparks were just jumping from windrow to windrow of straw and igniting just immediately," she said. 

"And there was a woods nearby, so it could have been very bad in the sense that the tractor could have burned had we not kept the baler as cool as we could and of course we could have had the field go on fire or the woods or had somebody hurt or killed."

Bertha Campbell says a neighbour with a water truck soaked the baler until the fire department arrived. (Bertha Campbell)

Crystal Fullerton, farm safety co-ordinator with the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture, said conditions are so dry that the fire risk is great.

She is urging farmers to inspect their equipment thoroughly, and to have fire extinguishers handy in case of an emergency.

"There probably will be some more close calls," she said. 

"Farmers are a very savvy bunch and they're used to being able to roll with the punches as far as Mother Nature goes but definitely this weather is a new one for everybody."

More from CBC News

With files from Angela Walker

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