Winona County seeing uptick in haybarn fires
(ABC 6 News) – The Winona County Office of Emergency Management said on Thursday that the county has recently seen an uptick in haybarn fires.
The office said that since June 19, fire departments in Winona County have responded to six haybarn fires which is three times as many in all of 2022.
The office said that even with dry weather conditions, hay still retains moisture making it susceptible to spontaneous combustion and it urges farmers to check their hay for excessive heat.
Indications of excessive heating include a caramel-like burning odor, visible smoke or vapor, strong musty smell, or a haybale that is hot to the touch.
When checking the temperature of hay, the office says there are some benchmarks to look for:
- 150 degrees is the danger zone for a fire. Bales should be temperature checked daily and the haystack should be disassembled and spread out to promote circulation.
- 160 degrees the hay should be temperature checked every four hours and the haystack should be disassembled and spread out to promote circulation.
- 175 degrees and higher they should call the fire department and not touch anything. Disassembling at 175 degrees or high introduces oxygen and can cause spontaneous ignition.
Fire burning in haystacks can burn a pocket out making it dangerous to crawl or walk across. Planks should be put down and a safety line should be used. The office says to have a second person present to assist anyone who may get into trouble.
More information and resources on how to prevent hay fires can be found HERE.