The dangers of fire in the dead of summer

This image of a wheat field fire makes any rural resident cringe.

Wind turbine fires are always shrugged off by the developers. They bank on them just not happening – especially in the dead of summer, when the wheat is dry… and the wind is blowing. And if they do happen, they figure they can just stand back and watch it burn. That’s the only plan they have.

This fire is on the edge of Middlesex County turbine country.

wheat fire

A second fire in Middlesex (Adelaide-Metcalfe twp) happened yesterday too:

2 thoughts on “The dangers of fire in the dead of summer

  1. Don’t use the ground water to put them there fires out folks it’s probly toxic sludge from them IWT !!!!! It’ll only fuel the fire more!!

  2. “Fire truck damage nearly $1M”
    Sudden wind shift blamed for loss of Haldimand pumper truck
    Monte Sonnenberg
    Tuesday, July 26, 2016
    Simcoe Reformer (print edition, front page)

    Damage is pegged at nearly $1 million after two Haldimand fire trucks caught fire at an emergency near Hagersville last week.

    Haldimand firefighters were called to Third Line Friday afternoon after a field of wheat stubble caught fire. While battling the blaze, the wind shifted and sent a wall of flame in the direction of two fire vehicles that were defending several buildings.

    The flames burned through fire hoses on the ground, disabling them. The flames then got underneath the vehicles — a pumper and a tanker — as they tried to retreat.

    The trucks didn’t make it. Both caught fire and were disabled. With no water to extinguish them, the pumper was destroyed while the tanker was badly damaged before reinforcements arrived.

    “The speed at which this fire moved was unlike anything the very experienced officers who initiated the fire attack had ever experienced,” Haldimand fire chief Rob Grimwood said this weekend in an email. “The actions of the firefighters saved millions of dollars in at-risk structures. Most importantly, the firefighters took the appropriate actions – in accordance with their training – to ensure their own safety during very dangerous conditions.”

    The pumper trucks was an older vehicle but will cost about $500,000 to replace. Equipment with an estimated value of $100,000 was also lost.

    Damage to the tanker truck could run as high as $200,000. This includes about $50,000 in lost equipment. Both vehicles were insured. The tanker will be assessed before a decision is made to repair or replace it.

    Grimwood describes Friday’s fire as “extremely large and spreading rapidly.” Conditions at the time were hot and dry.

    The wind shift also threatened two newer pumpers and two newer tankers. These vehicles were able to move to safety.

    The damaged and destroyed apparatus was at the eastern end of the fire zone. The escape route for these vehicles was long, narrow and ultimately inadequate to deal with the wind shift and the ferocity of the flames.

    “It is easy to judge a fire in hindsight and say the trucks could have been parked in a position not to be impacted by the fire,” Grimwood said. “But that is not operationally feasible. The trucks are not simply a means of transport for the firefighters. They are their source of pressurized water so they need to be parked in close enough proximity to deploy fire hoses to apply water to the fire.

    “These actions are what saved the structures and prevented fire spreading beyond the area that was consumed. This fire had the potential for much, much worse spread beyond what occurred. The actions of the firefighters are what limited the damage.”

    Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt is withholding judgment until he receives an official report. Council will learn more in August. In the interim, Hewitt says taxpayers can take comfort in the fact that Haldimand has good insurance and that no one was seriously injured.

    “You always want to protect the public purse and the assets the county owns,” Hewitt said Sunday. “The easy trigger is to be upset. But there has to be a rational explanation of what happened.

    “This was a unique situation. It was so hot. It was one of those days when everything is working against you. I don’t think this incident was due strictly to human error.”

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