Victoria Minister for Agriculture & Food Security Peter Walsh
Floods And Rain Increase Risk Of Haystack Fires
Victor P Taffa
Extensive Flooding and Heavy Rain across Victoria have increased the risk of hay bale and haystack fires, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said today.
Mr. Walsh urged landholders to keep a close eye on hay bales and haystacks affected by flooding or heavy rain with warmer weather increasing their potential to spontaneously combust.
“It’s crucial that landholders with hay affected by flooding or heavy rain keep a close eye out for signs of heating.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The conditions across a large part of North-West and North Central Victoria are now highly conducive to hay bale and haystack fires.”
“Landholders in North-East Victoria and Gippsland will also need to be on the lookout with heavy rain predicted over the weekend.” Mr. Walsh said.
Mr. Walsh said the risk of spontaneous combustion was high when the temperature inside hay stacks and hay bales in paddocks reached 70°c.
“The temperature on the outside of hay often gives very little indication of the extent to which it is heating up on the inside.” Mr. Walsh said.
“For this reason it’s important to check the temperature on the inside and in the case of smaller stacks, this can be done easily by inserting a crowbar into the stack.”
“The crowbar should be left inside the stack for a couple of hours the temperature of the bar will then provide a good indication of how hot the stack is.” Mr. Walsh said.
DPI State Flood Recovery Manager Greg Hayes said farmers should consider pulling stacks apart if they had reached high temperatures and recommended contacting the CFA before starting work as the bales could easily ignite when exposed to oxygen.
“All equipment should be removed from inside or nearby locations if the stack is becoming seriously heated.” Mr. Hayes said.
“Haystacks may also become unstable if lower bales start moulding badly, begin to heat up and lose their shape.”