Blamed on the 'Heavy Fog'...
WACO - Power poles in as many as five Central Texas counties were burning Thursday morning, [Dec. 6th] and authorities were trying to find out why.
A Department of Public Safety communications officer said power poles in Hill, Falls, Bell, Williamson and McLennan counties mysteriously began bursting into flames at about 4 a.m. Thursday.
He said the fires that had been reported were burning at the tops of the poles, some involving transformers.
Various power company representatives had been dispatched to survey the damage and several fire departments were sent to douse the flames.
One power company technician told a News 10 reporter near McGregor that the fires likely were caused by a build up of dust on transformers that shorted out due to low-lying fog.
The Oncor web page showed a total of 4,253 customers without power in McLennan, Bell, Falls and Williamson counties as of 8 a.m.
Cain said crews should have power restored to those customers by mid-day.
As many as 30 power poles were burning in one area of Hill County, just off Interstate 35 at mile marker 361.
As many as 20 poles were reported burning in Bynum east of Hillsboro and and others in the Aquilla area where some customers were without power.
Comment: One very plausible explanation for these bizarre fires on power poles is the the many fireballs/cometary fragments that were seen approximately 24hrs later over wide swathes of Texas. See here for the many eyewitness reports of this increasingly common event.
From George Ure, Urban Survival
In response to our note about the odd outbreak of pole fires in a half dozen Texas counties last week, we got a number of answers. One email I misplaced was from a Spokane lineman who explained that the arcing and sparking sets off the wood of the poles (and sometimes cross members) and that made a lot of sense. Another reader (Joy out in Hilo) wrote in:
"Just last week I was standing at the bus stop waiting for the bus to Hilo. A power company truck pulled up and the lineman got out. "Aha! Here's my chance", I thought. I asked him why I could hear that loud buzzing and feel the electricity on my skin all the way across the highway and down the hill at my place. He gave me the exact same story. Dust, it's a volcanic island for pity's sake, and heavy salt build-up from the Pacific a couple of blocks downhill. Did I start to feel and hear it just as a light rain started? I sure did. So you may not like the answer but it appears to be consistent even in Hawai'i."
Still, reader Bill has been thinking on this and here's what he's come up with:
"I grew up in West Texas where power poles ran REA electrical wires all over the farming flatland. Never saw a pole fire. Only wooden pole fire I've seen came about a year ago and just down the road where the local electrical co-op's 1950's aging grid had a pole transformer short with a large boom and repeated flash. Then, the flaming oil inside sprayed on the pole itself and dripped fire around of the base of the pole. The nearest fire department handle the short lived fires until the co-op guys arrived. What I'm wondering is about the kind of "Dust" it is. With Aluminum dust and Nano-dust said to be used in making Thermite and Chemtrails, maybe somebody is monkeying with the sky above that latest problem zone.... "
That may be WAY closer to the truth than we can discuss openly, but let's just say that a number of web bot hits some years ago there was a major power outage and speculation in some intel circles that it may not have been entirely acts of nature...
Still we maybe should come back to Occam's Razor with reader (and professional engineer) Art's remarks:
"Pole top fires shouldn't happen from something simple like dust - which, by the way isn't combustible in and of itself. Oh really? How about down at the grain elevator?
Sorry but as a clean room design type let me clue you in. 50% or so of normal dust is dead skin (yeah, I know, yuck!). Another large portion is hair. And then fabric lint (mainly cotton), All of these are primarily carbon which is conductive which is why precipitation won't do it all by themselves and you're back to HEPA filtration.
Now I am intrigued about how it ignites when wet, but am also aware that high humidity will work without moisture. Watching a flue gas precipitator on a waste fired boiler explode will demonstrate all of this real well. O, and did you miss you own remark?
Maybe if the opposing enemy was average...but if they were, why have we been in war continuously at one level or another for 20-years in the sandbox?
Maybe because they have been at war 80 (or is it 120, or is it 800) years in the sandbox and its their home (but not ours) and we are just the latest iteration of sucker to fall into that trap.... "
I'll keep ponder this - at least for as long as the lights are on. Email from reader Corey to end on:
"On behalf of the electric utility industry, I once had responsibility for transmission and distribution electrical equipment and its regulation by the EPA. Our industry performed the most comprehensive study of in-service electrical equipment (which is predominately filled with mineral oil as the dielectric fluid) ever performed in 1982. We were investigating leaks and spills of total-enclosed units under the watchful eye of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
Transformer and capacitor equipment failures (save those caused by falling trees), let alone fires, are extraordinarily rare. Today here are probably about 40 million pieces of large electric equipment out there. I have never heard of a series of pole top fires. Individual equipment fires, though they do happen, for varying reasons, are rare and unusual events.
I assure you the Edison Electric Institute (my former employer), Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) (a former major client) and IEEE are all over this ... and we should see what their investigations turn up. They will be comprehensive. I assure you.. My prayer would be ... I hope that Obama's EPA does not launch yet another series of regulatory proposals on this equipment, which is the lifeblood of electrical power conveyance. In closing, you are going to hear from some real electrical equipment reader whiz kids (well, elderly whiz kids). I used to work with these guys ... an amazing bunch. "
A reader in Australia has been thinking about the outbreak of power pole fires last week in a half dozen Texas counties...has some ideas:
"Hey George, Pole top fires used to be common here in Perth & nearby geographically.
A report here says, “..............The pole-top fires are caused by dust and salt landing on the top of insulators. During light rain the water droplets land on the insulator, and electricity tracks across the water droplets, and ignites the dust.”
Now we have the power company inspecting & cleaning (hi-pressure water) where necessary, even doing so from helicopters on the massive open country towers. Since they started that, the fires have decreased dramatically. So what was the atmosphere like at that time & place? Humid? Light rain?
Nope...I'm not biting on this: Pole top fires shouldn't happen from something simple like dust - which, by the way isn't combustible in and of itself. So are there that many transformers with cracked insulators and weather seals & exposed transformer oil? I doubt it but....? Be interesting to hear from readers with specific knowledge on this. I vote for the UFO's set 'em on fire myself, lol. ~ George Ure http://urbansurvival.com/week.htm
Another one of those excellent reports from Suspicious0beservers showed up on YouTube this weekend. The subject of this week's report was a favorite topic around here...what's the end of this solar cycle going to be like? And yes, this solar system-wide event seems to have impacted other planets besides ours...
~ George Ure http://urbansurvival.com/week.htm
Comments from Signs of the Times article:
Power poles burst into flames in Texas one day before Fireball sightings -- Fire in the Sky -- Sott.net:
Survive Anything - Disasters - Economy Collapse - Mobs, Etc. PROTECT YOUR FAMILY!
37 Food Items that will be SOLD OUT after Crisis:
NASA knows some things. 2012 Survival Guide
Ping your blogAnd Chomp it www.Hypersmash.com