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Fire destroys WA hay truck heading to drought-affected NSW farmers

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Zoe Keenan, Perth Now  /  January 25, 2019

In a cruel twist of fate, a Western Australia (WA) road train carrying bales of hay to provide relief to drought-stricken farmers in New South Wales (NSW) was engulfed in flames on Eyre Highway, near the South Australian border, on Wednesday.

The truck caught fire at Eucla, which had its highest recorded temperature in more than 100 years when it reached 48.6C, just under the 49.3C recorded in 1912.

Drivers were left in shock after the semi-trailer’s cargo went up in flames just after 2pm, with no explanation for the fire.

It was one of 48 road trains transporting hay to farmers in Cobar in an effort organised by the not-for-profit organisation Farmers Across Borders, started by Esperance farmers Sam Starcevich and Anne Bell in 2014.

Ms Starcevich said luckily no one was hurt in the spontaneous fire. “We’re disappointed that we won’t be able to deliver that load of feed to drought-affected farmers in Cobar,” she said. “But we’re continuing the journey to arrive on Australia Day and deliver donations as planned.”

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services estimated the damage at $50,000.

The convoy will deliver almost 3000 tonnes of feed to NSW farmers.

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Apparently hay can spontaneously combust if it was wet when bailed. Sure some guys in here can explain it better than me... but I have mate who cart hay some time and when I rains it delays them a fair bit. 

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as with any organic compound, when it decays it produces heat. when wet, it decays faster. the faster it decays, the more heat it builds. 

if left alone, it can cause enough heat to self ignite.

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When I was a kid I remember going with my dad to a neighbors place to restack all  the hay bales in his barn when they were heating up , they were old fashion square bails and were up over a hundred degrees when we pulled them apart and put an air gap between them all. Later in college I worked for Checker board and they sold bailed hay as well as bagged feed .It was on a street with old wooden mill buildings  and one night the building next door went up in flames  need less to say the next day we were taking all the hay to another place , our building was filled with grain dust and if it caught fire would have exploded. About two years ago saw a truck load of round bails go up on I95 in Springfield Va. They pulled the tractor of and the FD started pumping water ,called towing company who  brought two roll offs  and bobcats and they started pulling burning bails off. Don't know if it self combusted or was ignited by a thrown cigarette.

 

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