Hay Bales and Fire

Not a good combination, but one that occurs quite frequently throughout our area.  No matter how you approach this combination, you’re looking at a lot of work and time involvement.   A very usefull tool is a tractor or loader to help break the bales apart, allowing water to actually get to the seat of the fire, but if not available you can work around it with a few smaller tools and a good combination of water, class “A” foam and a piercing nozzle.

If the latter is the set of tools you’ll be utilizing get ready to work.  You’ll want to get as much manpower as possible to assist with rotation and rehab time.  Take it one bale at a time, focus on bales near an exposure or tree line first and work your way through the remainder.  You’ll need a good water supply as piercing nozzles can move some water.

Class “A” foam will go a long way in allowing water to penetrate the bales, water has a high surface tensions and would rather run on the ground versus soaking into the hay bale.  Even a very low foam concentration, 0.1%, can go a long way in assisting with extinguishment.  Foam isn’t cheap, but when you consider using less water, less travel time to get water and less time on scene burning diesel fuel, it works out.

The main thing to work on is figuring out how to utilize the tools you have.  If you don’t have access to a piercing nozzle, you’ll spend more time breaking the bales apart.  Keep in mind personnel safety is the highest priority followed closely by exposures.  Call for mutual aid manpower and depending on how many bales your dealing with establish a good water supply.

Be safe and good luck…


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