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What to Do If Your Tractor Catches on Fire

We want to help you understand what to do if your tractor catches on fire.

If you do not feel that you understand these steps, or can perform them safely, consult your tractor dealer or local mechanic. Also always consult your tractor owner’s manual for model-specific information.

Let’s get started.

Instant Danger

It can happen in an instant.

You are happily working in your field. And suddenly you smell smoke. You get a pit in your stomach --- that sinking feeling we all know far too well. Something is wrong. You see flames and fire coming from the tractor. An emergency has sprung up from seemingly nowhere.

Next, you exit the tractor wishing you were closer to your cell phone and fire extinguisher. You have neither.

As you turn around again, you see bright orange flames and smoke pouring out of the engine compartment. You may have been wise enough to carry a fire extinguisher and were able to put out the flames yourself. Or you may be too late and now must watch your tractor, worth thousands of dollars, burn right in front of you. And hopefully, nobody was injured.

This one incident alone could cost a life, a severe injury, and even thousands of dollars in property and equipment damage.

Does this scene sound far-fetched or a bit alarmist? Unfortunately, it is not far-fetched and happens quite a bit.

In fact --- tractor and combine fires are a major problem. They cause over $20 million in property losses each year. They also cause the loss of millions of dollars more due to lost time and downed crops during the busy harvest season.

Tractor and combine fires not only cause huge property, financial, and time losses --- they also cause near 50 serious injuries and at least one death each year.


To prevent tractor fires, an operator must be properly educated.

There are two keys:

  • Prevention

  • Preparation

Fires require three things: (1.) Air, (2.) Material to Burn, and a (3.) Heat Source.

It is impossible to eliminate air around a tractor. So, you need to make sure to keep the tractor clean of possible fire-causing materials. You must also eliminate all the possible sources of heat that could lead to a fire.

Cleanliness and Maintenance Let’s begin by discussing cleanliness.