Fifth hay fire
TYRES AND HAY BALES WERE A TOXIC COMBINATION
A toxic tyre and haystack blaze in Nanneella on Sunday sent plumes of black smoke into the air that could be seen from as far afield as Tongala.
Some 25 firefighters on seven appliances from Rochester, Timmering, Corop and Tongala brigades spent 21⁄2 hours battling the intense blaze at a Gibson Rd property after being alerted at 5.24 pm on Sunday.
Seventy hay bales and about 200 rubber tyres were burned in the fire.
‘‘We believe it was due to spontaneous combustion,’’ CFA Campaspe Shire district 20 acting operations officer Mick Lavery said.
‘‘The rubber tyres made the fire more toxic and intense and sent smoke blowing towards Tongala. There was a lot of smoke and still some this morning when I went out there.
‘‘The firefighters did a really good job. They separated the burning tyres from the others and covered them with foam. After about 21⁄2 hours, they extinguished the tyre fire and made the area safe, but left the hay bales to burn out.
‘‘Because it’s dry, they burn themselves out quickly, but if we put water on them they would have burned for weeks.’’
It is the fifth haystack fire in the district in the past two weeks and follows one at Wharparilla on Friday night last week.
‘‘This is concerning for us and we hope it’s not a pattern,’’ Mr Lavery said.
It comes as Mr Lavery issued a summer warning reminding landowners to take extra care when cutting, baling and storing hay this year.
He said correct storage was important along with monitoring stacks for heat to prevent hay fires.
Spontaneous combustion is caused by bacteria that grows within green or damp hay and produces a chemical reaction that causes the hay bale to heat.
‘‘Farmers need to check their hay bales and use probes and iron bars to make sure hay bales aren’t heating up,’’ he said.
‘‘Just be careful.’’ — Ivy Jensen