Assessing the ability of a large-scale fire test to predict the performance of wood poles exposed to severe bushfires and the ability of fire retardant treatments to reduce the loss of wood poles expo

There are approximately five million wood power poles in Australia, and their loss in severe bushfires has become a matter of increasing concern to the Electricity Supply industry. Observation shows that in severe bushfires, copper-chrome-arsenate (CCA)-treated hardwood poles are more likely to be seriously damaged than creosote-treated hardwood poles. This project assessed the efficacy of four fire retardant treatments applied to CCA-treated poles. Three were applied as coatings to CCA-treated spotted gum (Corimbya maculata) hardwood specimens and one was impregnated by vacuum/pressure treatment into CCA-treated spotted gum specimens.

In addition, the project aims were expanded to develop a large-scale test method that would successfully predict the ‘real-life’ outcome when wood poles are exposed to severe bushfires. The project also assessed the suitability of fire test Australian Standard (AS) 1530.8.1for assessing the fire performance of poles exposed to bushfires.

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