CCA treated poles can be protected against fire
Dolphin Bay was recently approached by customers locally and abroad to identify or develop products that would protect treated poles from the damaging effects of veld fire.
There is a perception that creosote-treated poles do not burn. The fact is that while they have a better tolerance, a fire will weaken a creosote pole by between 20% and 30%. A second fire would demolish them completely. This, combined with natural leaching and evaporation of creosote poles, will require that they must eventually be replaced.
Finding solutions through innovation is what Dolphin Bay does best. In August we tested the level of protection certain barriers could offer CCA treated poles during veld fires. The experiment was conducted at the Mossel Bay test facility with the assistance of the local fire department.
Two options were put to the test: one to determine which had the potential to limit fire retardation, and the other to prevent destruction of a pole. The effectiveness of the two barriers to reduce afterglow were tested by simulating an actual veld fire to observe how untreated and CCA treated wood reacted in a controlled environment.
The results showed that both barriers could prevent the burning of CCA treated poles. The height of the barrier on the pole was also crucial to the extent of protection. Coverage of between 1m and 1,5m above the ground ensured the most effective protection. The correct coverage can be obtained by taking the bush density, type of material, its length and approximate wind to determine the fuel reserve or intensity of the fire. By taking this into consideration we can determine the approximate duration and heat of the fire at the location of the pole and the type of protection needed.
Dolphin Bay Managing Director, Bertus Coetzee, said the company has identified a barrier system that will protect poles from damage of up to three fires. “The barrier is easy to apply and can be used in the field on newly planted poles or even ones that have been standing for some time,” he said. “Remember, replacing a burnt pole costs nearly three times more than opting for a fire retardant barrier, so this is an option worth considering.”
We are excited by the possibilities of this product and we will bring you more information about it in 2015.