Ardmona haystack destroyed by fire

By Liz Mellino

A haystack that caught fire in Ardmona was still smouldering more than 24 hours after it ignited last week.

About 180 bales in a shed on a Simson Rd property caught fire on Tuesday, March 31, with the hay quickly going up in flames.

CFA District 22 duty officer Pete Dedman said the fire was reported just after 9.10 am on Tuesday.

“The whole shed and all of the hay was destroyed,” he said.

Eight CFA units from Mooroopna, Tatura, Merrigum, North West Mooroopna, Shepparton and Toolamba attended the scene, with crews working to ensure neighbouring property and assets were safe.

“There was some machinery parked around the haystack and so some of that was moved — where we can, our endeavour is to protect exposures and anything else around,” Mr Dedman said.

With the fire being close to a highway and causing a large amount of smoke to be visible in nearby areas, the CFA put out a community notification to warn people of the blaze.

Mr Dedman said this was often a precaution for haystack fires, given they can burn for days.

Once CFA crews deemed the area safe, the scene was handed back to the landowner for them to keep monitoring the conditions.

“To put them (haystack fires) out with water takes a lot of water and a lot of work,” Mr Dedman said.

“Our standard practice where we can is we let them burn out for everybody's ease.”

The cause of the fire was deemed non-suspicious.

Mr Dedman said spontaneous combustion often occurred in haystacks, given the right conditions.

“It's caused by micro-organisms, sugars and moisture — they heat up to a stage where it spontaneously combusts."