Witnesses say broken wind turbine caused several hundred acre fire

From KEPRTV

by Megan Magensky  Sunday, July 21st 2019

KLICKITAT COUNTY, Wash. — KLICKITAT COUNTY, Wash. — The Juniper Fire is now 40 percent contained, according to a press release. The fire is mostly burning in the Pine Creek Drainage area south of Bickleton, WA.

As of Sunday evening, the fire has burned 242 acres.

39 structures are threatened by the fire but no structures have burned. The Pine Creek Drainage area is under a level three evacuation.

Crews fighting the fire are up against 28 mph wind gusts and low humidity.

201 total people are working the fire. Resources will continue to arrive overnight, according to a press release.

Officials said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Full article here.

Video from Youtube account The MustangFan13

(sorry about the music)

From Oregon Live

Wildfire in Southern Washington caused by wind turbine that caught fire

Updated Jul 22, 11:35 AM; Posted Jul 21, 2019

By Peter Talbot | The Oregonian/OregonLive

UPDATED Monday, July 22: S. Washington blaze caused by wind turbine that caught fire now 30% contained

***

A wildfire in southern Washington that has burned more than 350 acres was caused by melting sections of a wind turbine that fell to the ground after the turbine’s generator caught fire, fire officials said.

Around 1:40 p.m. Saturday, smoke was reported to be coming from the generator of a wind turbine south of Bickleton, Washington in Klickitat County, according to a new release from Klickitat County Emergency Management.

Fire engulfed the turbine 300 feet above the ground, causing melted pieces to fall to the ground, igniting grass and brush, according to the release. Gusting winds helped spread the wildfire, called the Juniper Fire, to between 350 and 500 acres by Saturday evening. By 10 p.m. the fire was estimated to be about 20% contained.

Three residences were put on level three evacuation notification by the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office. Firefighters were stationed at the residences overnight.

Full story here

HT/Steve Oregon, and MCR

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60 thoughts on “Witnesses say broken wind turbine caused several hundred acre fire

    • This looks like it failed because the blades exploded. This has happened before when a failure causes one to free wheel in high winds in which case it can’t be stopped.

      • Didn’t seem to be much breeze according to the video.

        Maybe it was a fuse/short situation?

        Cheers

        Roger

        These failures are far more spectacular and environmentally friendly! 😉

        • Number 2 on this video is the scary one. It involves all three blades being shed practically at once. While it’s impossible to say where they landed, it’s probable that two of them went a very long distance.

          Blades on a modest wind turbine (1.5 MW) weigh about 12 tons each. That much debris raining down is potentially lethal.

          Prior to my retirement, I was Chief Engineer in the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation. Our rules included the requirement that the Expected Casualties of any given space launch be less than 1E-4. One wind turbine safety study I read indicated that a blade departure had a probability of 0.01 per year per turbine. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that 24,000 pounds of wind turbine blade (more than 100 feet long) constitutes a hazard far greater than the debris from almost any rocket launch. And with wind farms having multiple turbines, and no effective way to ensure that the uninvolved public is kept away, the expectation of casualties of a wind farm have to be pretty high.

          If the safety requirements for a commercial space launch were imposed on the wind turbine industry, I’m confident that the industry would cease to exist.

          • Here’s the whole Danish turbine blowing up.
            http://www.rockyhigh66.org/stuff/wind_turbine17a.gif

            The turbine rotor brake failed, so the rotor spun out of control and shed the blades.

            There is a maintenance truck parked at the bottom of the tower. A blade tip hits right in front of the truck, then the nacelle and attached tower hit right behind the truck. Close call. The blades don’t go far, since they’re still somewhat aerodynamic. The generator gets tossed out of the nacelle.

          • Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
            July 23, 2019 at 6:26 am

            Number 2 on this video is the scary one.
            ———–
            Right Michal…

            That’s what happens when a wind mill buys into the propaganda and deception…
            and starts really truly believing in that it is a turbine of some kind, instead of it simply being a silly worthless weak wind mill in reality… 🙂

            Totally agree, Number 2 on this video is the scary one, and maybe the most expressive one there, top notch… 🙂
            cheers

    • John F. Hultquist July 22, 2019 at 8:28 pm
      I wonder, can they image them with IR and tell if something is not right.

      of course they can.
      On cnc machining centers it is called a “load monitor”. If any part of the machine is reporting to much resistance the machine shuts down.

      michael

      • Using an IR sensor does work, but it’s useful on rail cars because the cars are in motion with very little electrical on the individual cars.

        A windmill is stationary, and can easily be monitored with less expensive sensors. There are a lot of electronics in a windmill, and data transmission is easier than… power transmission.

      • The problem is even if you detect a fault the blades are in the wind and if the fault is with the blade control it’s like a ship without a rudder or a plane without one of it’s key steering panels working. There will always be some situations you just can not do anything about unless you are willing to make the unit far more expensive to cover those situation if safety demanded.

    • Maintenance and monitoring of mechanical issues is nearly nonexistent by some operators. The most common primary failure is by the gear box speed increaser. This piece of kit weighs 50,000 to 80,000 pounds typically and speeds the primary input up from around 18 rpm to synchronous speed into the generator. The gears are designed with a low service factor due to cost and weight. Their physical location makes service difficult and sometimes neglected. The blade and hub you see is hanging on a huge self aligning rolling element bearing. The front of the gear box (input low speed shaft) is hollow and hangs on the main shaft using a device to shrink the OD tightly over the solid main shaft. All the box weight plus lateral wind forces, unbalance, torque is handled by this 18 to 28 inch diameter shaft, front bearings and the box housing. Failure happens when the oil cooling and filtering system fails, when a tooth or several break off and possibly rupture the box housing. Teeth are very large, inch thick and many inches long (gear width). A loose tooth is like a pipe wrench and quickly shreds other teeth or jacks the entire housing apart. Other means can come from blade pitch control failure or failure of the emergency brake on the high speed shaft (output). The brake can heat up red hot very quickly and is not intended to stop a power pitched input at speed. The brake as you might expect is about the size of an over the he road truck wheel. It is mounted on the high speed end of the gear box and adjacent to the generator. Sometimes all of these failures are simultaneous. Sometimes the mechanical failure can take out the electrical devices as well. Some operators mount vibration monitoring accelerometers and detect issues and do a controlled shut down. Sometimes bad stuff happens.

      I am a retired engineer from a company that made rebuild equipment for the gear boxes.

      All of the above is difficult to manage on land. It is many times more difficult over water and the infrastructure to do so is way more expensive. In consideration, they should not be sited over water and especially in the Great Lakes. Each one is a potential environmental disaster and the inevitable spills due to maintenance vessels etc. cannot begin to be tolerated.

  1. Oh dear – all the good that the beautifully clean and green wind turbine was able to achieve in it life time has been ruined by all that horrible earth destroying pollution.
    So sad….

    Ok – maybe I’m not being quite fair with my sarcasm.
    No, hang on, I think my sarcasm was totally fair and reasonable.

    • Apparently a pocket of pure CO2 formed around the nacelle causing it to over heat and ignite. /sarc

  2. What is utterly amazing is that Washington State gets 100 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric dams and has almost zero need for any other power sources. This is courting trouble simply for the sake of virtue signally – and a nice dose of taxpayer money.

    • Unfortunately, Washington State also spills water over the dams at freshet, when storage is full, when they have an abundance of wind that gets priority access to the grid. So, that is beyond stupid. To think they actually dump potential spinning reserve quality electricity, for junk asynchronous electricity is just ludicrous. Or if they keep everything generating, then the surplus electricity just gets dumped on the spot market earning basically nothing anyway.

    • Didn’t one of your former progressive presidents promise to skyrocket energy prices to make life for the poor even more miserable ?

    • David says “Washington State gets 100 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric dams.

      Perhaps it could, but it does not.
      There are many small thermal sources, for example burning at wood and paper product firms.
      There is also nuclear: Columbia Generating Station nuclear facility is the third largest electricity generator in Washington, behind Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams. Its 1,207 gross megawatts can power a city the size of Seattle, and is equivalent to about 10 percent of the electricity generated in Washington and 4 percent of all electricity in the Pacific Northwest.

  3. I would be happier to read that a several hundred acre grass fire ignited a number of wind turbines and sent them to earth.
    Just a small change of direction to the story line.
    Geoff S

  4. If you look at the number of turbine fires annually across the world and compare it to the huge number of wind turbines now in service, you can see that turbine fires are exceptionally rare.

  5. In the opening video, why are distant blades turning while those close to the fire are not?
    Is wind that variable? Or did a mechanism turn off the near ones according to a plan? Geoff S

    • I wondered the same thing. But then I guessed it could be the transmission lines serve a group of turbines and they were tripped off automatically to isolate the fault. That could cause functional turbines to shut down. Just a guess.

    • I suspect the brakes on the nearby ones were activated when the other one failed, taking out a shared power distribution cable thus removing the load from nearby windmills. When the generator has no electrical load on it, that’s when it can start to spin out of control under high winds.

  6. The things that fail on windmills are bearings, props and brakes.

    And when brakes fail, and the blades keep turning in the wind, and they over heat and the massive oil tanks used to keep the bearings rolling catch on fire – these monster light up like Xmas trees …

    And if you’ve been nutty enough to place them anywhere near anything that burns … there’s a high risk that it too will start burning in what will be near gale force winds … and so unlike fires that start on a still hot summer’s day, these firestorms during peak winds are unstoppable!

  7. I would imagine that the turbines would be connected in groups, perhaps 8 or 16 machine, to a concentrator/substation and if one of the group had a catastrophic failure such as this then the whole group would be shutdown and brakes applied. Hence the nearby machines are stopped and the rest are turning.

  8. Could they not flick a switch and power the other windmills to blow the fire out?

    I’ll get my coat..

  9. …and not a word about it on the news around here, so it must not really be all that important. But summer in the city food fests with loud, noisy bands – well, that’s REALLY important!!!

  10. “The Juniper Fire is now 40 percent contained, according to a press release”

    UPDATED Monday, July 22: S. Washington blaze caused by wind turbine that caught fire now 30% contained”

    Nature is winning.

    Commercial responses to flammable plants is to use brush killer regularly or to pave over the areas where flames can occur.
    What wonderful Earth friendly solutions to non-existent problems:
    • Fossil fuel dependent short lived wind turbines,
    • Large areas of land removed from habitation and wildlife habitat,
    • Bird and bat destruction machines, that when mechanically failing cause large areas of land to combust.

    Pave paradise and put up bird and bat killing machines that require 100% fossil fueled or nuclear or hydro-electric generating capacity backup.

    ” ”

    ” ”

  11. The owners wish to advise they are currently field testing the new raptor deterrent system and gathering much useful data for further input into the computer model.

  12. Starting Wildfires is a new item to add to the long list of dangerous effects that these monstrosities have on the environment, bird, bats and us. If anything other than an icon of ‘Climate Change/Global Warming’ was involved it would have been sidelined long ago with a track record like these things have.

  13. These wind turbines have been in use less than 9 years as they were not commissioned until Q4 2010. Pretty short life span.

  14. Yet the greens act as if these wind turbines once installed will last forever and never need replacement. How old were these turbines? Who was the manufacturer? China?

    • They have only been in service since Q4 of 2010. This phase of the project consists of 63 Mitsubishi 2.4 MW turbines. So only been in use less than 9 years.

  15. Who approved the patents?
    Who were the engineers who advised the government to invest in these turbines using taxpayers’ money.
    In Canada, we have Federal Statutes to protect citizens from dangerous equipment, appliances etc.
    Are these industrial scale turbines an exception to the rules set out in these Federal Statutes?

    who approved of the patents

  16. Wonder how many segments on CNN and MSNBC covered the news of exploding wind turbines causing wildfires?

  17. Coud anybody say what the air pressure is inside the tip zone of those blades? Would be nice to know the pitot pressure as well. Are the blades vented? And does this present a loss of power?

    Add the cycling of the g-force, and the potential for rain erosion, there would seem to be plenty of scope for interesting failure modes such as delamination, fatigue failure, etc.

  18. Add fire fighting costs and evacuation lawsuits to the electric bills….California does.

  19. Eventually it will become undeniable that worth-less-than-nothing wind and solar junk power is nothing but “grid poison” and should be “landfilled” (most of the material is non-recyclable). Combined cycle gas turbines now & small scale modular nuclear when it’s available (soon).

    Renewable power problems:
    Voltage regulation (magnitude and frequency)
    Voltage sags and swells
    Harmonics and inter harmonics
    Real and reactive power
    Sub synchronous resonance issues due to interaction of the electric network
    and the complex shaft/gear system of the wind turbine.

  20. Another thing to think of is a grass or scrub fire around or in a wind-farm has to be dealt with by ground crew as fire bombing is out of the question due to the obvious blade risks and also dropping huge amounts of water/retardant onto the windmill could cause major damage or collapse.

  21. The “wind farm” in Klickitat County is in an area called the Horse Heaven Hills. These gorgeous rolling grasslands are east of the Cascades (in the rain shadow) and overlook the spectacular Columbia River Gorge.

    Lewis and Clark passed through the Horse Heaven Hills (twice) guided by the Sahaptian and Salishan people who, by their account, have been living in the area for 800 generations.

    Once home to one of the largest bald eagle populations in the lower 48, the “wind farm” has killed hundreds (if not thousands) of these magnificent birds.

    btw, the Windy Point/Windy Flats project is the largest wind farm Washington State consisting of 90 square miles and spanning 26 miles along the Columbia River. It is owned by Tuolumne Wind Project Authority – a California joint powers agency formed by the Turlock Irrigation District and the Walnut Energy Center Authority. Their headquarters are in Turlock, CA.

  22. I would be happier to read that a several hundred acre grass fire ignited a number of wind turbines.

    That’s OK. Sometimes burning down of wind turbines makes place for more, greater, newer ones.

  23. Must have been because the grass was so dry from droughts and intense heat due to climate change.

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