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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

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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 02:37 PM.
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    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.

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    Piercing nozzle and wetter watter (or other class A foam) is the way to go.
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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
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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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.

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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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    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.
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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

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    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

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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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    Default Does anyone care?

    Quote Originally Posted by arhaney
    All this is true, but how many controlled burns does the USFS do a year?
    Good question, and how many people suffer from their actions?
    I'm not trying to cause trouble by pointing out this information, just concerned about the medical reports of epidemic astha and such, and wondering who is in control of any of this? And does anyone care?
    Mark Cummins

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    I will say this, if we do need to put out a hay fire, we'll be using the piercing nozzle with foam! In most of our cases the hay is in a remote location and confined to 4-8 bales of hay.

    Extinguishment is not always the best option for us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfire3
    ......OSHA says we must use engineering controls including wetting agents and foam to protect the workers at hazardous waste incedents.
    Do you mean to tell me that we should consider a grass fire a Hazardous Waste Incident?

    Please note that I DO NOT have a problem using AFFF or trying to put them out with just plain ole water, or do like we tend to do, let them burn in isolation. I do have to ask one question. Bear with me.

    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....
    CFire, You are talking about protecting the environment, runoff, pollution, etc., and the first photo you show (CAFS Bale) is piling up the foam on the ground. Can you tell me what kind of well you pump this stuff out of the ground? I'm sure that you must pump it straight out of the ground and don't manufacture it. You wouldn't be trying to tell me that if I choose to fight it with plain water it is more dangerous to the environment than a synthetic material, would you? When I looked at your first picture, all I could think about was the next rainfall and the nearest creek. Or do you have a specialized contractor clean up the area (considering it is a Hazardous Waste Incident) and have it sent to a Hazardous Waste Facility?

    In my simple mind, I cannot believe that using water is more dangerous to the environment than a synthetic product. If I was trying to determine which I think would be worse,I'd rather let the natural vegatation burn off than to put such on the ground.

    Again guys, I don't find issue with attacking with AFFF. You never know, our next bale fire just might include a nozgle and bucket. I am just having a hard time buying off on the "saving the environment" argument.
    Last edited by spearsm; 10-17-2005 at 11:38 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spearsm
    Do you mean to tell me that we should consider a grass fire a Hazardous Waste Incident?

    Please note that I DO NOT have a problem using AFFF or trying to put them out with just plain ole water, or do like we tend to do, let them burn in isolation. I do have to ask one question. Bear with me.



    CFire, You are talking about protecting the environment, runoff, pollution, etc., and the first photo you show (CAFS Bale) is piling up the foam on the ground. Can you tell me what kind of well you pump this stuff out of the ground? I'm sure that you must pump it straight out of the ground and don't manufacture it. You wouldn't be trying to tell me that if I choose to fight it with plain water it is more dangerous to the environment than a synthetic material, would you? When I looked at your first picture, all I could think about was the next rainfall and the nearest creek. Or do you have a specialized contractor clean up the area (considering it is a Hazardous Waste Incident) and have it sent to a Hazardous Waste Facility?

    In my simple mind, I cannot believe that using water is more dangerous to the environment than a synthetic product. If I was trying to determine which I think would be worse,I'd rather let the natural vegatation burn off than to put such on the ground.

    Again guys, I don't find issue with attacking with AFFF. You never know, our next bale fire just might include a nozgle and bucket. I am just having a hard time buying off on the "saving the environment" argument.

    True Dat.....Bro.....
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    Quote Originally Posted by spearsm
    Do you mean to tell me that we should consider a grass fire a Hazardous Waste Incident?

    Please note that I DO NOT have a problem using AFFF or trying to put them out with just plain ole water, or do like we tend to do, let them burn in isolation. I am just having a hard time buying off on the "saving the environment" argument.

    Yep! I agree that it sounds pretty unusual to think of a grass fire or a bunch of 2,000 pound bales of burning hay as being a hazardous waste incident, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, the Environmental Protection Agency spent a whole lot of our tax money to research whatís in wood smoke. The list below is the TOXIC compounds in the SMOKE from wood, and that would include the smoke from grass and hay. A spill of any one or a combination of any of these compounds would call for a Hazmat response so if any of these same compounds are released into the air the Federal Clean Air Act says thatís illegal. Smoke IS dangerous; shouldnít we be doing everything possible to stop it from hurting the sensitive receptors that will tell you it hurts when you canít breathe?

    As for the synthetic foams being a danger? They are not, unless you stick your head in the bucket and drown. The exception would be some of the AFFF foams you mentioned that you DO NOT have a problem using, the original formulas of AFFF contain methyl tertiary butyl either which must be cleaned up after use, I suggest you donít use AFFF unless you know which type you have. Most other foam formulas are very biodegradable, and environmentally friendly, even better than Dawn Dishwashing detergent. Synthetic Detergents are often recommended to be used as soil conditioners by horticulturists.

    Why use the CAFS? Because it can use 60 times LESS water to extinguish the hay fires and there is no TOXIC run-off or off-site emissions which is only one of the reasons for using it. It is definitely a pollution and hazard reduction application system which allows a fire department to charge for the cost of using, it if they so desired.

    This information was published in 1993 EPA Report, A Summary of the Emissions Characterization and Noncancer Respiratory Effects of Wood Smoke, EPA-453/R-93-036 It can be ordered from the EPA at (919)-541-5344.
    Chemical Composition of Wood Smoke
    Species g/kg wood

    Carbon Monoxide 80-370
    Methane 14-25
    VOCs (C2-C7) 7-27
    Aldehydes 0.6-5.4
    Formaldehyde 0.1-0.7
    Acrolein 0.02-0.1
    Propionaldehyde 0.1-0.3
    Butryaldehyde 0.01-1.7
    Acetaldehyde 0.03-0.6
    Furfural 0.2-1.6 1.6
    Substituted Furans 0.15-1.7
    Benzene 0.6-4.0
    Alkyl Benzenes 1-6
    Toluene 0.15-1.0
    Acetic Acid 1.8-2.4
    Formic Acid 0.06-0.08
    Nitrogen Oxides (NO,NO2) 0.2-0.9
    Sulfur Dioxide 0.16-0.24
    Methyl chloride 0.01-0.04
    Napthalene 0.24-1.6
    Substituted Napthalenes 0.3-2.1
    Oxygenated Monoaromatics 1 - 7
    Guaiacol (and denvatives) 0.4-1.6
    Phenol (and denvatives) 0.2-0.8
    Syringol (and derivatives) 0.7-2.7
    Catechol (and denvatives) 0.2-0.8
    Total Particle Mass 7-30
    Particulate Organic Carbon 2-20
    Oxygenated PAHs 0.15-1
    Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)
    Fluorene 4x10-5 - 1.7x10-2
    Phenanthrene 2x10-5 - 3.4x10-2
    Anthracene 5x10-5 - 2.1x10-5
    Methylanthracenes 7xl0-5 - 8x10-5
    Fluoranthene 7xl0-4- 4.2xl0-2
    Pyrene 8x10-4 - 3.1x10-2
    Benzo(a)anthracene 4x10-4 - 2x10-3
    Chrysene 5x104- 1x10-2
    Benzofluoranthenes 6x10-4- 5x10-3
    Benzo(e)pyrene 2x104 - 4x10-3
    Benzo(a)pyrene 3x104- 5x10-3
    Perylene 5x10-5 - 3x10-3
    Ideno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene 2xl0-4- 1.3x10-2
    Benz(ghi)perylene 3x10-5- 1.lx10-2
    Coronene 8x10-4- 3x10-3
    Dibenzo(a,h)pyrene 3x104- lx10-3
    Retene 7x10-3 - 3x10-2
    Dibenz(a,h)anthracene 2x10-5 - 2xl0-3
    Trace Elements
    Na 3x10-3 - 1.8xl0-2
    Mg 2x10-4 - 3x10-3
    Al 1x10-4 - 2.4x10-2
    Si 3x10-4 - 3.1x10-2
    S 1x10-3 - 2.9x10-2
    Cl 7x10-4 - 2.1xl0-2
    K 3x10-3 - 8.6x10-2
    Ca 9xl0-4 - 1.8x10-2
    Ti 4x10-5 - 3x10-3
    V 2xl0-5 - 4x10-3
    Cr 2x10-5 - 3x10-3
    Mn 7xl0-5 - 4x10-3
    Fe 3x10-4 - 5x10-3
    Ni lxl0-6 - lx10-3
    Cu 2x10-4 - 9x10-4
    Zn 7xl0-4 - 8x10-3
    Br 7x10-5 - 9x10-4
    Pb lx10-4 - 3x10-3

    Particulate Elemental 0.3 - 5
    Carbon
    Normal alkanes (C24-C30) 1x10-3 - 6x10-3
    Cyclic di-and triterpenoids
    Dehydroabietic acid 0.01 - 0.05
    Isopimaric acid 0.02 - 0.10
    Lupenone 2x10-3 - 8x10-3
    Friedelin 4x10-6 - 2x10-5
    Chlorinated dioxins 1xl0-5 - 4x10-5
    Particulate Acidity . 7x10-3 - 7x10-2
    Mark Cummins

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