Wheat Harvest is in Full Swing ~ So is the Fire Season Unfortunately…

avatar

With so much rain this spring, the dry land wheat crops were the best the farmers had seen in a long time. Dry land wheat isn’t irrigated. It’s only watered my Mother Nature. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of dry land wheat in Southeastern Washington State. When harvest time kicks in, convoys of harvesters travel up and down highway 12. You will see 3-4 and sometimes 6 harvesters in one field with a couple Bail out wagons collecting the wheat. It’s pretty impressive to watch

For those that don’t know what I am talking about when I say Harvester or Bail Out Wagon here…

Harvester
726EE1A6-EC93-4D60-831D-1FF6F6B7FB80.jpeg
source

Yes, that big machine can take on some pretty steep terrain. The whole entire cab has auto leveling hydraulics. They don’t go up and down the hills, they side hill these wheat fields when harvesting. A machine that big going sideways on a steep hill… Crazy!!

Bail Out Wagon
119E7B39-A327-4E7E-AF44-C071BE665CAA.jpeg
source

The Bail out Wagon is on the far right. These harvesters have a big hopper that holds a good amount of wheat. When it’s full they use that “snorkel” sticking out the side to empty into the bailout wagon. Then the wheat is loaded into big semi trailers and hauled off to one of the many different grain silos in the area.

D74433E1-0840-45EB-8025-D191A0D803B0.jpeg

It’s bound to happen and it does every year. A fire or multiple fires break out during harvest. All it takes is for one of the cutting blades on the implement (the big attachment on the front that cuts the crops) to spark, a little breeze and you got a full on standing wheat fire that gets out of control real fast. That standing wheat provides a lot of fuel for the fire. Add in a little breeze… Not good… not good at all!!

3A43D082-ADCB-42F5-AA1D-20D4700229A3.jpeg

My wife and I ran to the shop at work for me to grab a few things out of my bucket truck before leaving town. On our way home I looked out to the north.

OH, SHIT!! That fire is big!!

I’ve been around these types of fires for years, so it want a hugedeal to me. Us Lineman head to these fires to keep our power poles from burning down. My wife asked is we could wonder out and take a look. “You got it honey” As we got closer a very concerned look spread across her face…

”OH MY GOD!! What about those houses!!”

36F46EAF-82DC-4329-AD1B-2D4D38F06381.jpeg

With firefighters stationed around the nearby homes, others were trying to contain the fire. That breeze made it very difficult to do so. One of my coworkers told be that the fire actually jumped across a 2 lane road. Not good… not good at all!!

Check out those flames!!
A538AB66-4985-4EBF-A42C-313A9CB966B3.jpeg

As my wife and I drove along the road about 1/2 mile away, I could tell this fire was gonna burn for a while. We stopped for a couple minutes and watched in awe… I kept thinking,

Where is the farmer with his tow behind disc barrow to create a fire line around this thing?”

Disc Harrow
4D91AEC7-C0EC-4E50-BCB8-1BF414CF5BEF.jpegsource

These can be up to 50 feet wide!! It takes some serious power to be able to pull those things through the dirt. A Quad-Trac, like the one above, is one bad ass machine. I’ve seen them drag one of those 50 foot disc harrows around a fire going 15-20 mph. That’s flat out moving for a machine that big pulling that size disc harrow behind it.

Typically what happens with these fires is, the firefighters are running around like crazy spraying water everywhere. Then a farmer shows up with a disc harrow… and it’s game over. They make a big circle around the fire and leave…

”My job is done here”

Not this time!! The guys told me that the fire kept jumping the fire line that the farmer was making with his disc. It must not have been the 50 foot one, maybe just a 25 footer.

As we watched the fire for a few minutes I noticed something I have never seen before. It was Smoke Tornado of sorts. By the time I got my phone out for the photo it had gotten a lot smaller but you could still see it.

38B0DF19-136D-4903-A342-C01979C7A875.jpeg

We drove a little further then stopped again… This time I saw a Fire Tornado shooting up off the ground. Again it was probably double the size before I was able to get a photo of it.

C31D73AD-A579-4653-BE4E-43B98F1942A2.jpeg

The breeze along with the 110F temps… what a nightmare!! I did get called to come into work but I couldn’t. I had to get packed up to leave in the morning to take my Son to his Scoliosis treatment in California the following morning. No worries, Line Brothers got this.

I noticed the fire around 4pm and talking to a fellow Lineman that was on the scene of the fire, around 8pm the fire was still going. I really hope this isn’t a sign of things to come this year. That’s one thing I don’t enjoy doing when it comes to my job as a Lineman… working fire damage. That’s what I call, Blood Money!

As my wife and I headed for home, we noticed the police department and sheriffs department setting up road blocks to keep people out of the danger zone. We snuck in early and got a good view of the fire. wink:wink

Here is a link to the local news story if you would like to check it out. Walla Walla Fire

Stay safe out there and keep your distance from any wild fire. You never know what direction it may turn and you could end up in a very scary situation really fast.

9730FF78B35142D89349809F353FBB53.png

Your Random
Dose of...

Join us in the Mancave!

93CFC9FF-4DAD-48B2-AEBC-C368B868548F.png

B3BEB29A3854409FBA0F3C7B534887A0.png



0
0
0.000
17 comments
avatar

I hope there won't be any more fires this year 😲

I noticed something I have never seen before. It was Smoke Tornado of sorts. By the time I got my phone out for the photo it had gotten a lot smaller but you could still see it.

I wonder if those things ever carry embers too?!?!

0
0
0.000
avatar

I agree!! I had seeing people’s homes burnt to the ground… a total loss.

I imagine they can carry pretty big embers a good distance with a little breeze

0
0
0.000
avatar

A fire tornado is just scary!!!

0
0
0.000
avatar

Ya, it was pretty crazy when it was double the size it was in the picture.

0
0
0.000
avatar
(Edited)

I've been keeping an eye on the fire maps for Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Most so far have been started by lightning, and the wetter-than-usual weather has helped keep them more contained up here, but down toward southern Idaho it's still a bit dry, and there's a big fire over on the Idaho/Montana border right under the nose.

0
0
0.000
avatar

Remember a couple years back when the coast of Oregon was up in flames? That was wild. That year it seemed like the whole west coast was on fire.

0
0
0.000
avatar

qhoa! that smoke tornado was pretty cool! 😎

are those big harvesting machines also called combines? that's what i always hear.

that one that digs a big trench is very cool indeed. 💪

0
0
0.000
avatar

Ya, we just call them combines too. It just depends on who you talk to.

0
0
0.000
avatar

With all of the shit farmers have to deal with, having their crops burned to the ground just before harvest time has to be totally depressing. You got some great pictures of a terrible situation.

The machinery that is used to harvest these fields is jaw dropping, I wonder what a piece of machinery costs. With a new pickup truck priced a 60 grand and more, I wouldn't want to hold the note on one of these.

So many people take the farmer for granted and just buy their goods without ever realizing just how difficult a farmer's life can be, always at the mercy of mother nature.

Great post!

0
0
0.000
avatar

What makes it worse is when your own equipment starts the fire… oops…

A guys bay barn burnt up today. Got this photo from a coworker

13181539-608A-4A4E-82EF-A4574CAF1DC1.jpeg

Some of those combines are $500,000!! One farmer bought a brand new one and a couple weeks later before he could get insurance on it a fire ripped though his property and burn it to the ground. That sucks!!

0
0
0.000
avatar

The farmers have a tough enough job as they are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Put this on their plate and it sounds like it may be game over.

0
0
0.000
avatar

That's crazy, hopefully you don't get a whole lot more of those fires!

0
0
0.000
avatar

It’s a yearly thing around here. We just had a guys hay barn burn down. Hopefully we don’t have the amount of fires we had back in 2020. The whole west coast was on fire then. It was crazy!!

0
0
0.000
avatar

Great post @splatts, some of those pix were awesome. I feel like every time you look at the news, there are these wildfires, scary stuff. With that temperature and a little breeze, I can only imagine how quickly they can spread.

Best wishes to your son with his treatment in Cali, that's another amazing story, your boy's journey through all of that.

Good luck my friend, prayers coming your way.

0
0
0.000