Saturday, 27 August 2016

Pyromania Day 2016

As the weather has been pretty damp recently, but looked to be fine with light winds on the 27th I decided that would be a good day to ignite my pile.  I should note that before moving out here I was unfamiliar with the term pile: its UK equivalent would be 'bonfire'.

However we get a quite a few prunings over a year that are too big to go through the chipper but too small to saw up for firewood.  On the pile.  There are also quite a few weeds that I don't want to put in the compost since I suspect that will survive the experience (like cockroaches after a nuclear holocaust..  On the pile.  Finally I collect bags of nasties such as serrated tusssock and St John's Wart (sic) up the block.  On the pile!

Outside the fire season the rules say that one should advise the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and your neighbours at least 24 hours before ignition.  I range them on Thursday and all was good.  The guy on the line asked what I was planning the send up and I summarised the above.  He commented that someone said they'd got a small pile to go, but it emerged it was 25m x 4m x 6m: not really small.  I assured him my lot was more like 5 x 2 x 2,  Here it is before lighting up.
 As well as the dampness from rain the morning of the 27th was quite foggy as just about visible in the background to this image showing the moment of ignition.
Demonstrating how quickly fires can pick up this next image was taken 54 seconds after the previous one. 
 The rate of  'catch' was doubtless assisted by my having put a couple of bits of old bike inner tube on top of the paper I used as a fire-starter.  (In the customary sogginess of an English Spring when working on a farm we used to put an old car tyre under our bonfires.  That would be a bit stinky for a rural residential area!)

Forward another 5 minutes and we hope that where there is smoke there is fire.  I hope the smoke has lifted before it gets to our neighbours: when I notified them I did say it was likely to be smoky for a while.
Although I have commented on how quickly it caught there wasn't an absolute pyroclaust as there has been other years.  That was probably a good thing since those blazes always concern he about embers going for a flight..

After 50 minutes things had pretty much calmed down.  I was a bit worried that some of the longer branches might 'bridge over' the fire but they dropped as hoped.
By latish afternoon everything was very quiescent.

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