Banding Manes
Body Clipping
Building Energy
Collection - Event Horse
Dog Beds
Don Blazer Columns
Equine Dental Care
Eleanor Richards
Expectant Mare
Farrier QA
Firearms on Trail
Foot & Mouth
Groundwork - Gentling
Groundwork - Horse
Groundwork - Rider
Hay Fires
Hauling Horses
Horse Flies
Horse Theft
How Horses See
Joint Care
Joint Health
JP Giacomini
Leather Care
Power To Win
Mark Of A Champion
Forest Of No Return
Gotta Have Heart
Saddle Fitting
Self Defense on Trail
Sewing your Own
Show Clothing
Tying Up
Walnut Shavings
Water - Essential
West Nile Virus
What Is A QH?
Winter Horses
Wobbler Syndrone
Worm Facts

Show Horse Promotions
The Show Planner

Mary Murray
Certified Internet Webmaster
i-Net+ Certified
A+ Certified



Hay Fires

Beware of hay fires...

Wet hay favors the growth of organisms which generate heat and can increase hay temperatures up to  150 degrees F.  Once hay heats beyond this point, chemical reactions take over and can increase temperatures to the point of spontaneous combustion.  With "wet" hay packed tightly in bales and stacked together in large quantities, fires are very possible.  Whether hay which is in this situation actually starts to burn or not depends mostly on the size of the stack and the material surrounding it.

If hay is stacked loose and sufficient cooling occurs at the same rate as the heat is generated, the hay may simply caramelize and turn brown or simply mold.  However, if there is enough hay on the outside part of the hot spots to prevent the escape of heat, and the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and moisture levels are right, a fire will eventually occur due to spontaneous combustion.

If you suspect that your hay may be heating up, the temperature can be measured and monitored by using the following process:

Drive a pointed 2" pipe into a hay bale and lower a thermometer on a string down into the pipe.  Wait 10-15 minutes for the temperature to stabilize, then pull it out and read the temperature.  Repeat this in several bales.  If a thermometer is not readily available, drive a solid metal rod or pipe into the center of the bale and after 15-20 minutes withdraw the rod.  If it is too hot to hold in your hand, the situation is critical.  The temperature should be determined and appropriate action taken.

Actions to take...

If temperatures are below 140 degrees F there is not any danger, unless it is early in the process.  

When the temperature is between 140-160 degrees F, check bales daily 

If temperatures rise above 160 degrees F, check every 2-3 hours and prepare to move the hay from the building and spread out so that air can get around the bales.

If the temperature reaches 180 degrees F, notify the fire department, insurance company (if the building is insured) and remove all equipment and/on animals from the area.  With fire equipment on hand (not just an extinguisher), remove bales to the outside and do not stack.  Place in rows for easy access.  During removal, be alert for burned out cavities.  Also, hay under these conditions may flame up as fresh air strikes it or smolder in a pile for weeks.

If bales ignite, soak with water and force some water in the center of the bales.

If the bales do not ignite, try to save the hay by allowing the bales to simply cool down.

Continue to monitor the internal temperature of the bales.  The hay may be put back in the building after the temperatures drop below 100 degrees F.




2000 - 2010 Show Horse Promotions
All Rights Reserved
Privacy Statement


The Show Horse Promotions web site is an informational web site, this information is subject to change without notice. Any use of, or actions taken based upon any of the information contained on this web site is done entirely at your own risk.

Show Horse Promotions expressly prohibit you from republishing or redistributing this content without first receiving our written consent. By using this site, you agree not to hold us liable for any errors or delays in this content, or for any actions that you take in reliance thereon. This site contains links to other Internet sites. These links are not endorsements by us of any products or services in those sites, and we have not endorsed or approved any information in those sites.