INCREASING incidences of hay stack fires has led to the Country Fire Service reminding farmers about the risks of storing bales with higher levels of moisture.
State Duty Commander Brenton Hastie said the late winter rain had increased the risk of hay being baled wet.
"Increased moisture levels cause a bacterial chain reaction in hay bales when external temperatures rise," he said.
"The result of the chain reaction is a building of heat, which can result in spontaneous combustion of the bales.
"If the bales are stored within a large stack, the fire will quickly spread through the stack and may destroy any surrounding building and equipment."
Mr Hastie said hay stack fires could take days to fully extinguish and may require lengthy periods of time from volunteer crews.
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"Primary producers storing hay can help the CFS by monitoring the temperatures of hay bales that are stored, and immediately removing any bales that begin to produce steam or smoke or are showing signs of heat build-up," he said..
"Hay fires are heart-breaking for farmers, as they generally destroy large amounts of feed and nearby machinery, so the best outcome we can have is to limit the chance of the fires starting to begin with by regularly monitoring the stores and lowering the risk of a fire starting."
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