One Hot Harvest


round bale fireHere in eastern Colorado, we’re nearing the end of wheat harvest and there is hay laying in windrows all over the place. Yesterday there was some excitement that we certainly could have done without.

One of our neighbors was swathing a field of grass when he realized his self propelled swather was in flames around him. He made a bee line to the dirt road to get out of the field and he was able to get out of the swather without injury. While the swather burned, he began fighting the fire with the tractor but the round baler also caught on fire. He was able to unhook the tractor and move it to safety.

Jason and I were hooking up our own swather when he spotted the smoke and we jumped in the pickup to check it out. We arrived only 15 or 20 minutes into the fire and were able to help contain the edge of the fire with shovels while waiting on the fire trucks. We’re a 40-minute drive from town so we knew the fire containment was on our shoulders.

A number of neighbors rolled in to help including a neighbor who works for the county running a maintainer. He was able to run his blade on the south side of the fire, containing it where it was too hot for men with shovels to work.

The fire departments arrived and Jason and I brought a tractor over to unroll the burning round bales. It was a big help to unroll the smoldering bales so they could burn out and be contained even though it was unnerving to watch Jason crash into the flaming bales with the grapple hook amid flames.

Once the situation was under control, the neighbors gathered on the north side of the burned field, visiting about harvest and remembering fires from previous years. It was nice to have everyone together even though the circumstances were terrible.

A number of the neighbors commented on how happy they are to see that Jason and I, the youngest in the group by at least 25 years, returned to the farm. It was an easy decision for us.

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