To view this as a web page, click here



March 9, 2020
Safety Tip of the Week delivered to your inbox each Monday by

Grain Dryer Fires

Grain dryer fires can result in downtime, lost revenue, injury,¬ and possible death. Grain dryer fires often are caused by:

• Lack of operator training and operating oversight.

• Inadequate cleaning.

• Operating the dryer at high temperatures.


• The dryer’s operations manual includes preventive maintenance schedules that should be followed. Each grain dryer should have its own maintenance schedule utilizing a maintenance checklist.

• Preventive maintenance should be performed prior to, during, and after the drying season. In-season maintenance activities should include routine cleaning of the dryer screens and inspection of emergency controls and associated equipment.

Emergency Response Actions

The following is a general procedure for responding to grain dryer fires. Always follow your company’s response procedures.

1 - Notify the Fire Department

Regardless of the size of the fire, it is important to have the fire department on stand-by when implementing the dryer’s emergency response plan.

2 - Isolate the Equipment

Grain dryers are equipped with emergency shutoffs located at the dryer control panel or at the PLC controls.

The emergency-stop button will shut off critical equipment, such as the gas supply, burner, blower/fans, unload conveyors, and the wet and dry legs. Some dryers may require manual shutdown of both the electrical and fuel supply.

3 - Determine the Location of the Fire

If the fire is small, it may be extinguished with an at-hand fire extinguisher, fire hose, or by removing the grain through the dryer’s unloading system.

When using the unloading system, it is important to drain the column impacted by the fire as well as the adjacent columns.

Using long-handled tools to actuate column discharge gates can prevent exposure to extreme temperatures.

Proper personal protective equipment (PPE), such as turn-out gear or heat-resistant PPE, should be worn.

4 - Inspect Attached Equipment and Implement a Fire Watch

Attached equipment, including the destination bin, conveyance, bucket elevator legs, etc., should be inspected to ensure that hot material is not present.

Implement an adequate “fire watch” for the remainder of the operating period to identify any hot spots within the system.


Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;



Follow Our Safety News on Twitter

Receive Our Safety E-News Twice a Month

Safety Tip of the Week Archives


Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

800-728-7511 | Website: