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14 January, 2022

Holiday hay fires costly for farmers

Several fires in stacks of hay bales caused a loss for farmers in the Nobby and Felton districts during the holiday break.

Firefighters quelling the smouldering stack of rectangular bales on the Doolan Road farm were able to prevent the fire spreading to nearby round bales.

Crews from the Cambooya and Nobby Rural Fire Brigades were joined by urban units from Clifton
and Allora to quell a blaze in a large stack of hay bales on a Nobby property on New Year’s Eve.

The fire in a stack of 140 large rectangular hay bales, was on Peter Mengel’s farm along Doolan Road west of Nobby.

Mr Mengel noticed smoke coming from the stack soon after 5am.

In response to his call for assistance, Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) initially despatched six fire crews to the scene.

Throughout the day up to eight units were used to attend to the smouldering hay bales.

Police had been alerted to the fire and a Queensland Ambulance Service paramedic from Clifton was put on stand-by at the scene.

Unfortunately for Mr Mengel, the hay was not his only loss.

An International truck which had been parked adjacent to the stack of hay also caught fire and was totally destroyed.

Damage was also caused to a hay mower-conditioner.

Earlier the same morning, a smaller stack of rectangular bales had ignited on a property off the Toowoomba-Karara Road at Felton East.

A nearby, larger stack of hay bales was undamaged.

QFES sent Cambooya and Nobby crews along with the Clifton urban brigade to another hay fire on land off Langsdorf Road at Nobby last Thursday.

This fire destroyed 191 large, rectangular bales, owned by
Mr Mengel’s brother, Ash Mengel.

Ash Mengel estimated the value of the ruined hay at in excess of $30,000.

Fire authorities believe in each case, the cause of the fires was spontaneous combustion.

Moisture in the hay becomes overheated in hot conditions and the temperature reaches a point where the bales burst into flames.

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