Drought causes higher fire hazard for cotton farmers

It’s cotton harvest and the dry conditions are only making it more of a risk

Drought causes higher fire hazard for cotton farmers

ATHENS, Ala. (WAFF) - Harvest season is in full swing across the Tennessee Valley, however, the drought is causing problems for some local farmers.

With temperatures in the 90s and dry conditions, it’s the perfect recipe for fire.

Brady Peek, owner of Peek Family Farms in Athens, says adding flammable crops into the mix heightens the threat.

“Cotton just is naturally flammable and so even just in a typical year we have to use extreme caution," Peek said.

Operating a machine that weighs several tons, and is already fire prone, also adds a risk.

“All it takes is just a spark. In the right conditions, you get a spark on this fueled with the right amount of air it doesn’t take anytime to get a fire going," Peek explained.

Peek says cleaning equipment several times a day is key when harvesting flammable crops during the dry season.

“We’re making sure that no cotton gets caught up in the motor area of the machine, that we clean our basket tops off, that we don’t have anything access around the picker that could start a fire," Peek said.

Farmers are taking the extra mile to keep their grounds and yours safe.

They also want you to be patient when you see machinery on roads during harvest season.

“We don’t enjoy moving this large of equipment up and down the road, as much as you like meeting us in the road. A little courtesy goes a long way," said Peek.

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