ST. PAUL  (AP) - Dry conditions have Minnesota officials urging farmers to take precautions to avoid causing fires as they harvest their crops.

The Department of Natural Resources points out that fires sparked by equipment in dry fields can spread rapidly and cause costly losses in crops and machinery.

The DNR's tips include preparing machinery to avoid overheated bearings and sparks; making sure fire extinguishers are fully charged and the right kind; servicing grain storage and drying equipment;  and turning off interior lighting in filled grain bins and hay storage facilities.

The DNR also recommends tilling 30-foot breaks around buildings and facilities to minimize the potential spread of fire; and handling and storing hay properly including checking it for hot spots.

If a fire occurs, the DNR says, remain calm and call 911 immediately.

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