Corn silo fire warning

Corn silo fire warning

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There is an increased threat of fires occurring in corn silos on farms due to the summer drought, according to an article in THE WASHINGTON POST.

The University of Maryland Agricultural Extension Service warned that storing corn fodder with less than 40% moisture makes silos susceptible to fires and possible explosions.

To help reduce the risk of fires, farmers should add water at silo-filling time to all forages with less than 40‘i moisture.

According to the Extension Service, drought-stressed crops will contain high nitrate levels, which can lead to the fermentation production of toxic gases, the most dangerous being nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen tetroxide. Not only are these gases dangerous if inhaled in even small amounts, but they could also cause an explosion.

The Service warned farmers that nitrogen oxide gases have a strong odor, but their anesthetic effect can prevent a person from smelling the gas after only a breath or two.

These gases have a corrosive effect on human tissue and can cause abnormal accumulation of fluid in the lungs. They are heavier than air and produce a reddish-brown haze as thev settle.

“But, by the time you see their telltale signs, you probably are already in a life-threatening situation,” according to a statement from the Extension Service.

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