Hay shed fire in New South Wales

hay shed fire new south wales
Photo credit: NSW RFS. Click to enlarge.

On December 12 firefighters from New South Wales Rural Fire Service and Victoria Country Fire Authority responded to a fire in a hay shed on Howlong-Balldale Road northwest of Howlong, NSW.

In a tweet the NSW RFS warned about spontaneous combustion:

With warmer weather the risk of hay stack fires increases. This fire attended by crews between Howlong & Corowa. With hot weather on the way landholders should check the temperature in stored hay & if possible ensure that farm machinery is kept in a separate shed.

hay shed fire new south wales
Photo credit: Fire and Rescue NSW Station 206 Albury North
hay shed fire new south wales
Photo credit: Fire and Rescue NSW Station 206 Albury North

The University of Montana has information about spontaneous combustion in hay:


“Oddly enough, wet hay is more likely to lead to a spontaneous combustion fire than dry hay. If hay is put into a barn or stack when it has more than about 22 percent moisture, not only does the hay loose forage quality, but it has an increased risk of spontaneous combustion.

“High moisture hay stacks can have chemical reactions that build heat. Hay insulates, so the larger the haystack, the less cooling there is to offset the heat.

“When the internal temperature of hay rises above 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees C), a chemical reaction begins to produce flammable gas that can ignite if the temperature goes high enough.

“Hay fires generally occur within six weeks of baling. Heating occurs in all hay above 15 percent moisture, but generally it peaks at 125 to130 degrees F, within three to seven days, with minimal risk of combustion or forage quality losses. Temperature within a stack then declines to safe levels in the next 15 to 60 days, depending on bale and stack density, ambient temperature and humidity, and rainfall absorbed by the hay.

“To avoid hay fires, small, rectangular bales should not exceed 18 to 22 percent moisture, and large round or rectangular bales should not exceed 16 to 18 percent moisture for safe storage.

“In addition, you should check your hay regularly. If you detect a slight caramel odor or a distinct musty smell, chances are your hay is heating. At this point, checking the moisture is too late, and you’ll need to keep monitoring the hay’s temperature.”

A 737 air tanker used for the first time

On November 22 Air Tanker 137 dropped on a bushfire in New South Wales

tanker 137 Boeing 737 drop first wildfire bushfire
On November 22 Air Tanker 137 made the first drop by a Boeing 737 on an active fire. It occurred in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia. Screenshot from NSW RFS video.

(This article was first published on Fire Aviation)

On November 22 Air Tanker 137 made the first drop by a Boeing 737 on an active fire. It occurred in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia.

Coulson completed the conversion of the 737 a few months ago and it is now working on a contract with the New South Wales Rural Fire Service during their summer. Nicknamed “Gaia”, it arrived at Richmond RAAF Base near Sydney November 11 after a multi-day trip across the equator. It will be primarily based at the RAAF Base along with three other large air tankers from North America — a C-130Q (T-134), and two RJ85s (T-165 and T-166). Two other large air tankers will be based in Victoria at Avalon Airport in Melbourne, a C-130Q (T-131), and an RJ85 (T-163).

Going by the coordinates on the images, the fire T-137 dropped on was very close to the Kurri Kurri Hospital southwest of Heddon Greta. The NSW RFS reported at 8:14 p.m. local time on November 22 that firefighters assisted by aircraft had slowed the spread of the fire. They estimated it had burned 61 hectares (151 acres).

bushfire Kurri Kurri Hospital NSW
The coordinates indicate the approximate location of the drop by Tanker 137. Google Earth.
tanker 137 Boeing 737 drop first wildfire bushfire
On November 22 Air Tanker 137 made the first drop by a Boeing 737 on an active fire. It occurred in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia. Screenshot from NSW RFS video. Click to enlarge.

Burn scars of the fire that burned into Tathra, NSW

(Originally published at 3:26 MDT March 27, 2018)

These satellite images show before and after photos of the March 18, 2018 bushfire that started southeast of Bega, NSW, Australia, and burned into Tathra, destroying at last count 69 homes.

The images were captured by the Sentinel-2 satellite system (March 26, 2018, 11:02 am local time) and were analyzed by BigDataEarth.com.

map tathra NSW wildfire homes destroyed
Map showing the area in New South Wales between Bega (on the left) and Tathra (on the coast on the right) before the fire.
map tathra New South Wales wildfire
Map showing the area in New South Wales between Bega (on the left) and Tathra (on the coast on the right) after the fire. The brown areas represent the burned area.

69 homes believed destroyed in New South Wales bushfire

Above: A fire burns structures in Tathra, New South Wales. Photo credit: NSW Rural Fire Service.

(Updated at 8:30 a.m. MDT March 19, 2018, US time)

At least 69 homes were destroyed and 39 damaged in the bushfire that spread into the coastal community of Tathra in New South Wales according to the Rural Fire Service.

As the fire ran into the town many residents took refuge on the beach, but very strong winds, smoke, and blowing sand convinced some to leave and head for the evacuation center in Bega.

The fire has burned approximately 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres).

map fire tathra
Map of the fire near Tathra, New South Wales. NSW RFS.


(Originally published at 11:03 a.m. MDT March 18, 2018, US time)

A fire that started southeast of Bega, New South Wales has burned east to the Pacific coast destroying homes in its path. The official tally of the affected structures is not available but Campbell Fuller, communications director of the Insurance Council of Australia, said “We are hearing several dozen properties” burned.

map bushfire Tathra new south wales
Google Earth file photo of the area in Tathra NSW affected by a bushfire. Compare this image to the one at the top of the article.

From the Daily Telegraph:

Earlier on Sunday night Bega Valley Shire Council mayor Kristy McBain said up to 35 homes had been lost and the concern was now about people stuck in Tathra as the roads in and out of the town were closed.

Many of the destroyed homes were in the small coastal community of Tathra, population 1,622. After the fire ran east for 5 miles (8 km) from the Bega area to the coast, jumping the Bega River, the wind shifted to come out of the south, slowing the spread. Officials advised residents to continue to monitor conditions and be prepared to enact their bush fire survival plan should the fire threaten again. The evacuation center is at Bega Showground.

map bushfire Tathra new south wales
Map of the bushfire between Bega and Tathra NSW. Map by NSW RFS.

The NSW Rural Fire Service video below shows Air Tanker 390 making a drop in Tathra.

The latest size of the fire released by the Rural Fire service at 23:10 March 18 local time was 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres).

bushfire Tathra new south wales
Air Tanker 390 makes a retardant drop near structures in Tathra, NSW. Photo credit, NSW RFS.

 

Firefighters and aircraft are being kept busy in New South Wales

(This article was first published on Fire Aviation)

A post shared by Charlton Durie (@charltondurie) on

Click on the image above to start the video. Then, to see a second video, click on the arrow on the right side of the image.

Instagram user “charltondurie” grabbed this photo and video of Air Tanker 912, a DC-10, dropping retardant on a fire about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia that has burned 1,880 ha (4,645 acres) northeast of Taralga between Bannaby and Wombeyan Caves.

A huge fire in the Pilliga Forest between Coonabarabran and Narrabri has blackened over 57,880 hectares (143,000 acres).

Lightning ignited multiple fires across the Blue Mountains and Yengo National Parks in NSW Monday evening. There are two fires burning in remote areas to the north of the Great Western Highway in the Grose Valley, Blue Mountains National Park and an additional six fires south of the Great Western Highway and north of Warragamba Dam in the Blue Labyrinth, Blue Mountains National Park. The aircraft is named “Nancy Bird” after an Australian aviatrix.

There is also one fire in the Yengo National Park, east of the Putty Road in the Hawkesbury.

These lightning fires are burning in remote areas. NSW  Rural Fire Service and  National Parks and Wildlife Remote Area Firefighters have worked to establish and consolidate containment lines with the support of air tankers.