No s***, Sherlock!

I guess someone’s (not) taking the heat for this.

How hot is it in upstate New York? So hot that horse manure is bursting into flames.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation … learned that the owners of a horse stable had been storing the manure in large piles that frequently spontaneously combusted in the excessive heat and dry conditions.

There’s more at the link.

I find it amusing (and also a bit sad) that some people today are so out of touch with nature that they don’t realize the process of decomposition produces heat.  I’ve seen the same thing in hot climates in Africa.  Put large quantities of dung, or moist vegetation, or anything like that into heaps, and the natural process of rotting, aided by the high outside temperature, can produce spontaneous combustion.  I’ve even seen a pile of seaweed that was smoking!

The fun part comes when you have piles of miscellaneous bits and pieces start to do this.  The combined smells from rotting offal, plant matter, ash, dung, etc. that are all blending into the smoke is . . . well, let’s just say you don’t want to smell it again!  For that reason, among others, Third World garbage dumps are an . . . interesting olfactory experience – NOT!



  1. Several years ago in Milford, Nebraska, there was a big pile of cow manure that was on fire for quite some time. It made the news, too.

  2. What a waste. Composted horse manure is the fertilizer of choice for mushroom farms.

    The manure pile on our farm was usually warm enough to melt any snow that fell on it, and that was in the '70s when eastern Ontario was hit with several massive blizzards.


  3. Oh yeah, that they are… Puking tourists are NOT unusual… Much like the 'odor' of Vietnam that no one who was ever there will forget.

  4. Biological decomposition starts the heating up process. But the Maillard reaction (the process that drives carmelization) is what drives piles of damp organic matter to a temperature where it spontaneously ignites. Resource HERE ==>,d.eWE&cad=rja

    Oily rags are a different process.

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