Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Blazing haystack season here

Country Fire Authority puts out fire on Tatura farm.

FIONA BROOM December 6, 2012 4:04am

Country Fire Authority personnel dampen a haystack fire on a Tatura farm yesterday.

’Tis the season for haystack fires and farmers are being warned to keep an eye on feed sheds and monitor temperatures in bales.

A fire in a hay shed at a Bayunga Rd, Tatura farm yesterday morning destroyed about a dozen bales.

Tatura Country Fire Authority firefighter Bill Stockdale said it was likely the feed spontaneously combusted, but the farmer acted quickly and helped stop the fire spreading.

He said when fire crews arrived the hay was burning, but it was quickly brought under control.

The owners were lucky the fire did not destroy more feed or their shed, he said.

The ceiling of the shed was only mildly scorched by the flames.

‘‘We were pretty surprised because usually half of the shed is gone when we get here,’’ Mr Stockdale said.

He said haystack fires were common this time of year.

‘‘At the start of the season when (the hay) is green it may take a couple of weeks for fires to show themselves,’’ he said.

The authority says haystack fires have a range of causes, such as sparks from machinery and equipment, embers from nearby burn-offs, or bushfires and lightning strikes.

But the most common cause is spontaneous combustion, when hay self-ignites after excessive heat builds up.

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