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Associated Press, Published November 16 2009

Combine fires more common this fall

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota sunflower farmers are facing not only wet harvest conditions, they're also dealing with more combine fires.

Larry Neubauer (NEW'-bow-er), who farms near Bottineau, says combine fires have been more of a problem this fall because of the time that passed between the killing frost and when many fields dried out enough to support harvesting equipment.

Neubauer says the sunflower stalks deteriorated a lot during that time, producing a lot of dust. He says sunflower dust has an oily substance to it and tends to stick. He says electrical sparks or heat from a transmission or oil line can quickly cause a fire.

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