Around $2m damage has been caused in what is believed to be the first wind turbine fire in Australia on Sunday at the Lake Bonney windfarm.
Fire crews responding to the blaze were confronted with a raging fire around 70m off the ground, which sparked numerous spot fires in the grass below.
Wattle Range Country Fire Service group officer Mike Kemp said the fire presented a unique situation for volunteers, who were unable to reach the actual blaze.
The fire was believed to have been caused by an electrical fault, setting the generator and blades of one of the 100m structures alight around 3pm.
“Before we arrived we could see it and it looked as if smoke was pluming from the sky,” Mr Kemp said.
“When we arrived the turbine was completely n fire. We could not get up there to put it out so we had five or six trucks to control the grass fires.”
Burning debris continued to start numerous grass fires throughout the evening, while crews waited for the main fire above them to burn itself out.
“The blades on the turbine are 40m long and one was completely on fire, so we were concerned about the blades falling and hitting crews, so we kept them right away,” Mr Kemp said.
Two employees at the windfarm attempted to control the grass fires until CFS crews arrived.
SA Ambulance paramedics were called after one employee appeared to have been affected by the smoke and heat. However, he did not require any treatment.
CIB and crime scene officers attended and deemed there were no suspicious circumstances.
24 January 2006
The Border Watch