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Round Haybale Fires

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  • Round Haybale Fires

    Does anyone have techniques they could share on extinguishing round hay bale fires ? We probably have 3-5 runs each year and would like to hear any alternative methods.



  • #2
    We try to get the bale(s) moved where they wont be a hazard and let them go.

    If you must extinguish it, piercing nozzle and a wetting agent (wetter water, AFFF at 1%, F-500 if you can afford to throw away money, detergent if you have to do it on the cheap)

    Then you could always pull them apart to put them out. I've spent HOURS doing that and got nothing but tired for my efforts.

    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for


    • #3
      I agree, you have two choices.

      1. Try to extinguish them with piercing nozzles, wetting agents, etc. This is time consuming and labor intensive.

      2. Unroll the bales and extinguish them. This is easier if you have access to a tractor with a loader to move the bales.

      We normally try to dig a line around anymore than one bale, burn off the grass inside the line and let them burn out. The owner usually is agreeable to keeping a fire watch.

      A burned bale is no longer good for animal feed as they usually won't eat even the unburned hay due to the smoke odor.

      Stay Safe


      • #4
        Looking for my old "Save the Bales" T-Shirt from my Florida days.


        • #5
          I guess we get lucky climate wise here in the mountains, we haven't had any catch fire in the county in many years.


          • #6
            Good luck, we lost about 75 in a stack last weekend. Due to exposures we had to attempt to put them out. All we could do was put out the fires as the loader tore the stack apart. this is a good chance to say thanks to the guys that provided mutual aid.


            • #7
              The few fires that I have been on with large hay bales have all been handled the same. You pull them appart and soak them with foam. Letting them burn is not an option in my department or in the area.

              Keep you head down and your powder dry.
              Lt.Jason Knecht
              Altoona Fire Rescue
              Altoona, WI
              Jason Knecht
              Township Fire Dept., Inc.
              Eau Claire, WI

              IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
              EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!


              • #8
                Round Hay Bales

                We try to get a bulldozer and/or bucket loaders in to the scene as soon as possible to pull them apart and spread them out so we can flood them.

                Other alternatives are the piercing nozzles, foam, or, depending on the situation, letting them burn.

                Another problem we have in this area (our neighboring county) is muck fires. They have had 4 of them this year, and usually end up calling in around 10 to 15 FD's for assistance with brush trucks and manpower.
                Muck fires burn underground and can burn for days or weeks. They usually cover many acres at once. The one two weeks ago covered 2 adjacent fields totaling about 9 acres. After 7 hours, the OIC called everything off and packed everyone up and sent us home. They try to just let them burn, but when someone calls because of the smoke, getting in their house, or the odor, they have to respond and try to extinguish them. (DEC rules on nuciance burning)
                "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
                Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
                from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
                I.A.C.O.J. Member


                • #9
                  Muck Fires??.....

                  Sounds like a lot of work.... I didn't know anything was dry enough to burn east of the Mississippi. On the round bales, we've had a few over the years, to put them out we unroll them, and soak the hay well as we unroll it. Stay Safe....
                  Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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                  Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                  Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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                  • #10

                    tear it apart and put it out, sometimes the obvious solution is the right one. It's a lot of work, but we try to avoid leaving any scene with something still hot, especially on a farm. In my area (and anywhere else in rural NY, as I'm sure others will attest to) a farmer can burn pretty much anything he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants (no tires, shingles, pesticides, etc.). A farmer will tell you he's going to keep an eye on what you've left, but usually after your tailboard is out of sight, he's back to work someplace else because he see's it as no different than the ag bags, busted barn doors and brush piles he usually burns. I don't know about anywhere else, but a lot of the farmers in my area are either too busy, too dumb, too pigheaded or just don't care about the house down the road or whatever else might burn when the wind kicks up sends that burning hay somewhere else.
                    Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

                    Anything found in my posts is soley my opinion and not representative of any other individual or entity.

                    You know that thing inside your helmet? Use it wisely and you'll be just fine.


                    • #11
                      My old department (and county) would spend hours on them things and use wetting agents and whatever means possible... Bottom line is that without some auxilliary equipment such as piercing nozzles or even a tractor to spread them out you will not put them out easily.

                      So.....my suggestion now....as in the past.... push them into one place, put a line around them and let them go.

                      Besides....ask any farmer...livestock will come no where near them if they have any odor of smoke on them.....so...What are you saving?
                      09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
                      IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
                      "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
                      BMI Investigator
                      The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


                      • #12
                        We drag them away from the rest, scatter them out,
                        and burn em up or drowned them depending on how far gone
                        they are. We had a pole barn a few years back full to the
                        rafters with square bales burned for 4 days.


                        • #13
                          Roll 'em out, let 'em burn

                          As many here have said, we roll them out or break them up as much as we can, and let them burn. If you keep moving them, they burn pretty fast, although it is a hot, dirty job. We use a pike pole usually, to tear into them and flake off the rolls. The ground around them us usually already burnt up, and we just use our water to keep surroundings cool and from catching fire from the radiant heat. You can either let them burn while you are there, or you can get called back out when the farmer relights them, as they are wasted once they start. And, if you can't break them up, they can burn and smolder for days, depending on how many you have, and how close together they are. The main thing is to try to protect the non affected bales as much as possible.
                          "Illigitimi Non Carborundum"

                          "The views expressed by me are solely my own, and in no way reflect the views of any organization which I belong to."


                          • #14
                            the Surrond and Drown, it's old and all that but with hay you don't have much choice, save the Building if you can get there in time, to get in and use a piercing nozzle to get to the hot spots down in the bale.

                            Yep have used Bulldozer's to spread them out also, just not much you can due with Hay once its on fire.

                            pretty much the same as everyone else on what to due with Big Bale fire's


                            • #15
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