Truck full of hay bursts into flames despite heavy rain and floods

Michael Dahlstrom
·News and Video Producer
·2-min read

After days of intense rain and flooding, a motorist was shocked to see a truckload of hay on fire in the middle of the paddock.

A blurry image of the fire posted online has attracted hundreds of reactions, with many perplexed at how a fire could start during such intense rain.

“Oh no, goodness what else is going to happen? It's soo not fair at all,” wrote one person.

“Only in Australia,” said another respondent.

“My heart goes out to the farmer,” said someone else.

Social media users were shocked to see an image of a large hay fire as wet weather sweeps NSW. Source: AAP / Glen Barbs
Social media users were shocked to see an image of a large hay fire as wet weather sweeps NSW. Source: AAP / Glen Barbs

Glen Barbs, who posted the photo to social media, said his wife was travelling through Turrawan, in northwestern NSW near Narrabri, at 11am this morning when she saw the fire.

He told Yahoo News Australia via text message that the incident left both of them questioning how it could have occurred.

“So pouring down rain for days and flooding everywhere and yet somehow a whole truck load of hay up in flames,” he wrote online.

Haystacks catching fire after flooding is common

While many respondents found the haystack catching fire during a storm perplexing, wet weather frequently leads to these fires.

Ben Shepherd from the NSW Rural Fire Service said he was not aware of the incident in question but confirmed that internal combustion is a common way for haystacks to catch fire.

Generally these blazes, known as 'haze fires', occur when there is moisture inside the hay bales or silage.

Hay can internally combust when it is packed tightly in a shed and is wet inside. Source: Getty
Hay can internally combust when it is packed tightly in a shed and is wet inside. Source: Getty

Dampness can accrue when grass is cut while still green, or after significant rain or flooding, making the tightly bailed hay more susceptible to catching fire.

The process can be spurred along with a return to warming weather after storms, as the heat breaks down the bale internally and creates heat.

“Over this year, we’ve seen a number of significant hay and hay shed fires,” Mr Shepherd said.

“The issue quite often for landholders is that they tend to store not only hay in some of these sheds, but quite often machinery as well.

“We’ve seen losses this year in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, both in hay and machinery."

Mr Shepherd said there will be increased risk over the coming days as warmer weather is expected.

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