Date: 23rd August, 2018
Following the recent wet weather we have been experiencing, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding farmers of storage advice for damp or wet hay.
The heat and humidity from the wet hay reacts with the dry hay and the insulation provided by the stack can allow a fire to start. Most problems with spontaneous combustion start within the first two weeks of hay being stored, although combustion is still possible for a further six weeks.
Farmers should not bale hay which was too wet or green, allow plenty of ventilation within any stack and regularly check the temperature of stacks just after storage.
Station Manager Graham Kewley said: “If wet hay is put into a barn or stack, not only does the hay lose forage quality, but it has an increased risk of spontaneous combustion. High moisture hay stacks can have chemical reactions that build heat. Covering field stacks can reduce this, as can ensuring that barns are filled in stages and have sufficient ventilation.”
Security of farm locations is also important as hay and straw are vital commodities and even a small fire can seriously affect the quality of stored products. Farm managers are advised to make sure that their fire risk assessments are kept up to date and should seek advice from the Dorset Police Rural Crime team to help reduce both accidental and deliberate fires in rural areas.