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Richmond Fire Caused By Lightning Striking Hay Bales

By Manotick Messenger/RichmondHub

Emergency workers responded to a fire that was reported at 6 a.m. Sunday morning on Franktown Road at Joys Road, just west of the BMR, in Richmond.

Police on the scene told the Manotick Messenger/Richmond Hub that the fire was caused by hay bales being struck by lightning during the storm and heavy rainfall early Sunday morning. Police closed Franktown Road at the BMR, just past the Fox Run community.

Firefighters work to control a Sunday morning fire in Richmond. (Manotick Messenger/ photo)

According to emergency workers on the scene, about 100 round bales that were five feet by five feet caught fire.

An excavator was brought in to separate the bales while firefighters worked with trucks and hoses to cool down the hot spots.

The fire was under control at 6:20 a.m. There were no injuries.

Dangers Of Wet Hay Bales

Wet hay bales are a particular fire hazard this time of the year, as wet hay can spontaneously combust.

According to the province’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, August has been a particularly dangerous month for hay fires because of the heavy rain fall, followed by extreme heat and humidity.

According to the ministry, a hay crop that is placed too wet into a mow will heat rapidly. If the mow is so large that heat loss is restricted, the internal temperature will rise. As the temperature rises above 130°F (55°C), a chemical reaction occurs and may sustain itself. This reaction does not require oxygen, but the flammable gases produced are at a temperature above their ignition point. These gases will ignite when they come in contact with the air.

The province reminds farmers to check your hay regularly. If you detect a slight caramel odour or a distinct musty smell, chances are your hay is heating.