Fifth hay fire


Shepparton News - - NEWS -


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

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