Grace Smith | October 13, 2022
The lack of rainfall at the beginning of October and the time period of harvesting crops has elevated the risk of cropland fires to “very high,” according to the National Weather Service. As of Oct. 3, three fires in the northwest and northeast Iowa have occurred.
The Sioux City Fire Department was called to a cornfield fire on Sept. 29. The fire may have been caused by a hot combine bearing, which is normally used to provide motion for the combine with the least amount of friction possible. When fire department chief David Van Holland arrived at the scene, he said a lot of corn was burning. A fire the day before started with a baler and a hay bale, which traveled to cornstalks.
Northeast Iowa also experienced a fire on Sept. 27. The Sumner Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call for a combine fire. When they were at the field, a combine was partially engulfed in flames.
“Though portions of northern Iowa received its first widespread freeze last week, drier and warmer conditions are expected to persist for the foreseeable future and farmers should remain vigilant about combine and field fire risks,” Mike Naig, the state’s secretary of agriculture told the Iowa Capital Dispatch.
Northwest Iowa conditions are labeled as being in an “extreme” drought. Less than one-fifth of farmland has adequate moisture for crops.