Chief Tom Hadding says he's surprised the department hasn't been busier fighting field fires. He credits area residents with paying attention to the dry weather warnings.
So far this summer, the American Township Fire Department has been lucky by not being called to any field fires. However, the high temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds are not in their favor.
Lieutenant Mike Peters is a firefighter and a farmer. He says there are plenty of risks.
"Every morning you should blow off you combine because of the dust build up and all the heat that's in the engine compartment. We get so busy, sometimes we kind of neglect that one little spark in these dry conditions like there is this time of the year and the wheat fields, I mean it just takes one little spark," said Peters.
Chief Tom Hadding says he's surprised the department hasn't been busier fighting field fires. He credits area residents with paying attention to the dry weather warnings. However, as the dry weather continues, he has another concern-- Independence Day celebrations.
"The fireworks go up, they have to come down. If there's still some hot embers it could set the wheat on fire or even the beans if they get dry and stuff and the grass and ditches," said Hadding.
The chief suggests watching fireworks at sanctioned events where fire departments are on standby should something happen.
Other concerns include smoldering campfires, cigarettes, trash.
"Everybody puts their burn barrel at the side of their property, and that's where our fields are right at the side of the property, and one little ember out of the burn barrel and it will get into the corn fodder or bean stubble and start a fire that way," said Peters.
Lt. Peters says stricter rules on open burning have cut back on those fires.
However, if the dry weather continues into the fall, field fire concerns will continue not just for wheat, but for the harvests of corn and soybeans as well.