Every year there is an average of 20,000 agricultural-related fires causing an average of $102 million in losses. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly two-thirds of those fires occur in fields, and more than half of those involve brush or grass. Whether you have rigs sitting out on your property or tall weeds threatening to short out your electrical fence, there are things you can do to protect your family, livestock, crops, and future.
Clean Up Your Property
Besides cleaning up old machinery from your field and property, and ensuring there is enough room for emergency vehicles to make it into your fields if there ever is a fire, you also want to remove tall, dry grass and other vegetation. There are a few ways to get that job done.
One of the easiest ways to push back unwanted vegetation is with an herbicide. Choose one that is right for the grasses or other vegetation you want to kill. Then start spraying. For larger fields and properties, Coastal carries large-capacity spot sprayers you can mount to a trailer.
Burn piles and field burning can make clearing your property a relatively easy chore. But, there are plenty of warnings to follow. Be sure to check with your local and state burning regulations. Some areas prohibit burning of any kind during certain times of the year. Get the proper permits, buy the right machinery, check with your local fire departments or agricultural cooperative extension office, and always play it safe when using fire. If you make a mistake it can be very costly.
Farmers and ranchers have used goats to clear bramble and other brush from fields, fence lines and more for hundreds of years. Goats can even clear out wooded land. Just beware that there are some things goats cannot digest, including: stone fruits like cherry, apricot, plum and peach, as well as rhubarb leaves, rhododendron, and bracken fern. Additionally, oak leaves can be toxic in the spring due to the gallotoxins found in the leaves. While goats make easy work of clearing fence lines and around buildings, they don’t just focus on the vegetation you want them to eat, they will wander as far as you let them.
Once you’ve cleared up your property, here are a few other ways to reduce your fire risk.
Whether you have employees or not, post and enforce no-smoking areas around barns, machinery, and anything that can ignite.
Keep Your Electrical Current
Make sure all new buildings comply with National Electric Code (NEC) and other local codes. And always use qualified electricians when updating old or outdated wiring. If you use extension cords around our property (and who doesn’t), only use them temporarily.
Keep Vegetation Away from Buildings
Trim vegetation so there is at least a five-foot buffer around your home or other out buildings. This will create a fire barrier.
Store Combustibles with Caution
Don’t store paper, rags, trash, hay, straw, or fuel near a heater, hot light source, or tools and machinery that can cause a spark. Additionally, keep your solvents and herbicides safely stored to minimize injuries and fires.
Avoid the Rig Graveyard
Those piles of old metal can be the cause of your next fire. To minimize the risk, remove ALL combustibles from rigs and machines before retiring them.
Put Your Rigs Away
Store your trucks, tractors, and other machinery inside barns or areas other than fields and pastures. Even the smallest spark from a warm exhaust manifold can cause an enormous brush fire.
Coastal Takes the Work Out of Weeding
Fire and fire damage are important topics, and the folks at your nearby Coastal Farm & Ranch have the knowledge and background to help you protect your pets, people, and property. Just ask us about ways to remove unwanted grass and vegetation from your land. We’ll introduce you to today’s best weed killers and other options.