Few Cotton Module Fires This Harvest Season

Its prime season for the cotton harvest, but that also means its prime time for cotton module fires.
By Michaela MacDonald

LUBBOCK, TX -- Idalou Fire Chief Russ Perkins says luckily they haven't seen many cotton module fires this year, but some years they've seen as many as 15. He says its a tough kind of fire to fight.

"It burns slow but it burns hot," said Perkins.

Perkins says raw cotton is extremely flammable. He says fighting module fires is all about containment.

"Biggest thing we will try to do at those times is protect the other modules that may not be on fire, protect exposures, basically. Keep the fire, especially if the wind gets up, keep the fire from getting to another module until we can get a module truck there to get those other ones out of the way and then a lot of times its a matter of just trying to break off whats burning and get it to the side,

Perkins says many times even if they can salvage part of a module, most gins won't take it.

"Most everybody would tell you there is no real advantage to trying to put a module fire, one that is really engulfed, to put one out because the gins don't want that on their lot then because their could still be a hot spot in it which is probably what started it anyhow," said Perkins.

He says they rely on area gins to move nearby modules in danger of catching fire.

"We call the gins not knowing who gins where, we just make a phone call to the closest one and say hey we need some help can you send us a couple of trucks and I've never had a gin turn me down," he said.

Plains Cotton Growers says with the current price of cotton, a module is worth upwards of $4,500.

"It's a substantial loss to a producer no doubt but at that point they are insured," said Perkins.

Perkins says there are regulations from gins and insurance companies as to how far apart farmers have to store their modules.
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