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  1. #1
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    Default Round Bale Hay Fires

    Just wanted to know if anyone has experience with round bales of hay.

    We just finished a fire in a storage shed filled with 2,000 pound bales of hay. Ventilation was close to impossible with the amount of smoke being generated and access with heavy equipment was not feasible as the tractor that normally moves these bales was fully involved and in the way.

    my main question is has anyone used foam on these with any sucess or is there any other tactic that we would want to consider


  2. #2
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    You have two choices.

    1. Let it burn itself out.

    2. Get another tractor and remove the bales from the shed and unroll them. You can then extinguish them.

    We have not had much luck on bales using class A foam while the bales are intact. The foam has a tough time penetrating to the center of the bale.

    The easiest method is to move the bales to a location where they can burn out. Livestock won't eat the hay once it has a smoke odor to it.

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    I agree ,your best bet is to knock the fire down,then remove the bales by tractor and roll then out.

    We have had good success with piercing nozzles on role bales by soaking then from the inside out.

    Just a side note when conditions are right and the hay is rolled a little to wet or green,spontaneous ingnition can occur.

    In eastern Kentucky grass and barn fires are commonplace involving hay bales due to this type of ingnition.
    Last edited by coldfront; 01-17-2005 at 01:37 PM.
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    MembersZone Subscriber ftfdverbenec770's Avatar
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    Default

    weve been lucky in that every time we have a hay bale fire, they are still in the fields and not packed in a barn.

    usually we can solve the problem with one of two options

    - unroll them and put it out as its unrolling
    - like someone else on here said, put a piercing nozzle into the bail and drench it like so.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber ullrichk's Avatar
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    Piercing nozzle and wetter watter (or other class A foam) is the way to go.
    ullrichk
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  6. #6
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    Yes large round bales are a pain in the @$#@. They are designed to shed water rather than absorb it. Very time consuming job. Our best luck has always been to pull them apart and either extinguish are let burn in a controlled manner.
    Rick Gustad - Chief
    Platte Volunteer Fire Department
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  7. #7
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    We've tried about every method possible. Some bales (most) are so tight that you wear out several firefighters just driving the piercing nozzle into the bale. The foam solution doesn't go anywhere other than just a few inches around the nozzle. We have played with several types of probes and nozzles but there is no real good answer. We still carry a home-made probe type nozzle that works on loose bales but not on the tight ones.

    We have a firefighter that wants to convert a bale processor to shred burning bales. Personally I don't think it's the answer but he does. He's trying to talk his brother into letting us try his.

    We have a firefighter that has a utility type tractor and loader with pallet forks that we use to spread bales out if we can't safely let them burn whole. Payloaders and skid-loaders with pallet forks also work well if you have good operators. On all of the newer tractor loaders, the grapple fork hydraulic hoses cross the back of the bucket and they burn off with the second burning bale picked up. We are finding fewer farmers or rancher willing to risk damaging their tractors and loaders because of the cost to replace them. And we really can't blame them.

    We have pulled a burning bale pile away from unburned piles by wrapping a cable around the pile and pulling it with our 6x6's. The biggest pile we have tried this with was 8 bales at a time but it worked. Around here there are still a few ranchers that put up loose hay in stacks and we use a cable between 2 trucks to spread the stack out. This also works with square bales in a stack.

    The ideal situation would be to move the bales to a safe area and let the land owner watch them while they burn up but that almost never happens. Unfortunately lots of labor and time are what we are using the most. One thing we have found is, order the pizzas before you start getting really hungry. It keeps everyone happier - its harder to complain with your mouth full.

    Brad

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    Default

    I want to thank everyone who responded to my question. Even though I really did not like the answers I received LOL. These bales seem to be a pain for everyone. Usually we do what everyone else does by isolating the bales and unrolling them for extinguishment.

    The best advise I saw though was order the pizzas early because it was going to be a long day.

    Everyone take care and stay warm

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    In this area we have several large composting operations (mushroom) that store thousands of these and also square bales. Over the years several of these piles have burnt, for various reasons, the old method of dealing with them involved many hours, and a massive amount of water. Now the EPA is getting involved and saying move any that is not burning away and let it burn to eliminate a runoff problem, or else!!!! Water only on exposures.

    Alan

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    MembersZone Subscriber arhaney's Avatar
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    Like everyone else said, seperate them and let them suckers burn.
    We've tried class A foam and the results were the same, it still burned up

    We had a situation one time where a farmer was hauling two on the back of his truck with a bail spear. That caught fire and he just sat them in the middle of the road and pulled away. Road was blocked and the hay was burning/smoldering. We took pike poles and rolled them out and just let them burn on top of the pavement. Gee, didn't know what else to do, but we got the road cleared in short order!
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    Deck gun 'em! Fun for the whole engine crew!
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  12. #12
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    Talking Well.................

    Originally posted by SFD3468
    Deck gun 'em! Fun for the whole engine crew!
    Only Problem with that idea is Murphy's Law, Part 89708.967 Section 548332.098 Paragraph 1 which clearly states "All Hay Bale Fires Will Happen at a Distance From any Water Supply Points. The Distance to the Water will be Inversley proportional to the Number of bales that are burning.
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  13. #13
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    Default It works

    You might try the high back pressure type of foam injection that CAFS allows for probes and piercing nozzles. Joshua Texas VFD has been doing this for several years and now other fire companies are using the CAFS foam to blanket the large baled hay fires to reduce the smoke and heat so they can get close with heavey equipment to seperate the bales then pierce them with the injected foam. I will try to add show a picture
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  14. #14
    Forum Member IGotTheJumpSeat's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ullrichk
    Piercing nozzle and wetter watter (or other class A foam) is the way to go.
    Bingo! being that there not all packed up together in a barn or other enclosure. This is how we deal with them.

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber arhaney's Avatar
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    Just some food for thought, if you do put out the hay with foam. The foam and water is going to ruin the hay, not fit for feeding to livestock. Why not just isolate the burning hay and let it do just that, burn up. Seems kinda foolish to use up foam on a lost cause!
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by arhaney
    Just some food for thought, if you do put out the hay with foam. The foam and water is going to ruin the hay, not fit for feeding to livestock. Why not just isolate the burning hay and let it do just that, burn up. Seems kinda foolish to use up foam on a lost cause!
    Most livestock won't eat smoked hay anyway, so it's usually not a problem unless you have a large quantity of unburned hay that will get caught in the runoff.
    ullrichk
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by arhaney
    Seems kinda foolish to use up foam on a lost cause!
    I agree it's a lot easier to let it burn, but the EPA has published a report that says there are more than 200 toxic compounds in the smoke from burning wood and several are cancer causing products and most cause upper respiratory health and OTHER problems. This could be serious not only for the fire fighters that are waithing for the hay to burn up but may hurt the downwind citizens for a long time after the fire burns out. Then there is a problem with the contaminated water run-off when trying to extinguish the fire without foam. So the price of the foam may be small compared to the environmental and health expenses for the people involved.
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    I agree with the other methods posted here.......What we've found regarding foam is that the amount of $$$ that foam costs is not a justifiable expense when looking at the cost of the haybale....in the end you easily spend more $$$ putting the bale out than what it was worth in the first place..... normally we'll get em' out of the way, rip them apart and let them burn...after all in the end...it's just grass

  19. #19
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by ameryfd
    normally we'll get em' out of the way, rip them apart and let them burn...after all in the end...it's just grass

    Uhhh... it's just grass, let it burn? That's sorta like saying ciggarettes are just leaves, it's true but after you turn them into smoke it can and does cause horrble diseases like cancer and asthma. I love the smell of grass and wood smoke, I hate that it can kill people lone time after they were exposed to it. The fire department is called to put the fire out and to protect lives, property and the invironment and OSHA says we must use engineering controls including wetting agents and foam to protect the workers at hazardous waste incedents. There is no doubt liability issues involved with allowing the release of air pollutants according to the clean air act, so what if someone gets sick from the toxic compounds in the hay smoke? Who do they sue?
    Mark Cummins

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber arhaney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfire3
    Uhhh... it's just grass, let it burn? That's sorta like saying ciggarettes are just leaves, it's true but after you turn them into smoke it can and does cause horrble diseases like cancer and asthma. I love the smell of grass and wood smoke, I hate that it can kill people lone time after they were exposed to it. The fire department is called to put the fire out and to protect lives, property and the invironment and OSHA says we must use engineering controls including wetting agents and foam to protect the workers at hazardous waste incedents. There is no doubt liability issues involved with allowing the release of air pollutants according to the clean air act, so what if someone gets sick from the toxic compounds in the hay smoke? Who do they sue?
    All this is true, but how many controlled burns does the USFS do a year?
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