evaporative aircon a fire hazard?

A recent bushfire in Western Australia destroyed about 70 houses. It is claimed that some of these houses burnt because of embers getting in the evaporative air conditioners. Often trees near the house did not burn, just the house. This state has a dry climate, and the evaporative cooling is quite popular. Of course there were other factors, such as 60 km/h winds the day of the fire, and houses built only 50 metres from forests full of dead leaves/twigs/bark.
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On 2/8/2011 6:39 AM, Orson Cart wrote:

What were they evaporating? Alcohol? It is Australia ya know. :-)
TDD
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wrote:

    Could be. If it's run dry, the fan will be running, and the fill will be dry as tinder, and a likely place for a spark or ember to be pulled in and fanned.
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They don't normally have a vent shut mechanism. Air can be blown into the ducts with fan motor off. If the fan and pump are off, the grid could ignite and be blown in the house.
greg
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On 2/8/2011 1:14 PM, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

The pads that are wetted down by the water spray in an evaporative cooler are often made out of wood shavings or fiber that can catch fire, especially if dry and there is air blowing through the media. A tiny hot ember that lands on the wood fiber media could set it on fire like glowing tinder under a camp fire when you blow on it.
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Here are two:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/10/3134956.htm
http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/embers-in-airconditioning-cost-homes-20110210-1aoe3.html
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If a pad burns it will send out embers. So whats different?? You already got embers.
greg
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On Wed, 16 Feb 2011 08:27:08 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net"

    No, it will not just 'have embers', it will 'fan the embers into a raging fan-forced flame on nice new dry fuel source, and blow those flames into your house, while it sits, afire, on your roof'.
    Often not considered a desirable thing in residential applications.
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On Feb 16, 11:38am, .p.jm.@see_my_sig_for_address.com wrote:

I do have experience with swamp coolers. The material will not normally catch fire easily. The minerals attach to it from the water and the dirt and sand embedded will also slow fire down. Swamp coolers are often on the side of a building and often get fed into a long duct. As I said earlier, there is no air trap, which would be a good thing to have. Either that or you have to cover either the cooler or the vent into the house for the cool season.
greg
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wrote:

That is bloody bull shit but then again depend on installation Unit supposed to have automatic louver in and out so that system can be isolated from draft and debris sorry no excuses. On the end You get what you pay for!
Often trees near the

If a pad burns it will send out embers. So whats different?? You already got embers.
greg
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