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Farming community asked to check on haystacks


A number of haystack fires has prompted the SA Country Fire Service (CFS) to remind the farming community to be wary the risk haystacks pose during increased fire danger conditions.

There have been four haystack fires over the weekend where the cause was attributed to spontaneous combustion.

State Coordinator Phil McDonough said it is important haystacks are regularly checked to limit the potential loss of significant assets.

"We saw a haystack fire destroy 1000 tonnes of hay in one fire alone, and this season we have already lost a number of haystacks resulting in millions of dollars lost across the farming sector," he said.

"Not only can it be a devastating loss to an essential asset but it will also require significant firefighting effort to ensure there isn't further damage to neighbouring machinery, buildings or pasture."

Mr McDonough says there are a number of preventative actions land managers can do to reduce the potential of a haystack fire.

"If possible, it is recommended hay is stored in a number of different locations around a property and limit the size of the stacks to prevent losing the entire asset in one fire," he said.

"Do not store vehicles, machinery and equipment with your hay; create and maintain fuel breaks around haystacks. The wider the break, the more useful it will be at helping to stop a haystack fire from escaping into the surrounding area or to stop a fire from reaching your stored hay.

"If there are signs the hay is starting to heat, pull the stack apart to improve airflow and allow the bales to cool.

"Be aware very hot hay may suddenly catch alight if it is pulled apart, so if any part of the stack is near or above 70°C you should take immediate action to prevent combustion. If you detect smoke from your haystack call triple 000."

More information can be found on the CFS website











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