Social Media Credited for Rapid Response to Combine Fire

An Estevan area farmer had one of his combines go up in flames on Tuesday afternoon, but his work crew and neighbours were able to limit damage to about 20 acres.

Jason LeBlanc says the fire started under very dry conditions and with wind gusts of up to 70 kilometres an hour. He sent out a call for help on the local WhatsApp network.

“It’s strictly for emergencies,” LeBlanc said. “I put on my land location and said that I needed help with a combine fire.”

There was a quick response from neighboring farmers.

“It was maybe 15 minutes and we had six discs going and two semis of water showed up and numerous people with half-ton trucks with water pumps and stuff,” Leblanc said.

The damage would have been much more extensive if the fire had occurred prior to smartphones.

“It’s dry stubble and the wind was taking it fast, but they managed to get it out. All you have to do is lay a couple of lines with a disc and (the fire) can’t jump it. Then you start working backwards and let it burn out,” he said.

There have been more combine fires than normal due to the very dry conditions. Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister David Marit is appreciative of the work done by local volunteer fire departments.

“I know one community where that fire department was out three days in a row on combine fires,” Marit said. “With the winds that we have, it has been challenge. The (rural) municipalities have come also to the aid with graders and equipment like that.

LeBlanc says local volunteer fire departments are important, but notes farmers have more equipment to deal with wildfires.


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