What Is a Hydrocarbon Fire, and How Do You Prevent It?


The risk of fire is present in all stages and operations of the oil, gas and petroleum industry. While oil and gas refining processes and petroleum products release vapour into the environment, they all have fire hazards when an ignition source is introduced into the mixture. Fires fuelled by hydrocarbons are very dangerous and can destroy anything exposed to them, including the industrial facility and people, in a short span when left unattended. Therefore, passive fire protection policies and investing in flame and spark detection sensors are wise measures you should take to prevent hydrocarbon fires.

What Is a Hydrocarbon Fire?

A hydrocarbon fire is a type of combustion liquid fire deemed one of the most dangerous classes of fire across several industrial sectors and in the oil, gas and petroleum sectors.

Hydrocarbons are a molecular structure that consists of hydrogen and carbon that generate significant vapour emissions. These emissions create a flammable concentration, igniting fire when it comes in contact with oxygen from a volatile compound.

It’s classified into two types, including pool and jet fire. Both are known to spread rapidly, causing devastating incidents, injuries, and damaged equipment inside the plant instantaneously when left unattended.

Pool fire is characterised by leakage of the combustible liquid from a pipeline, forming a fluid reservoir that lies idle until something nearby sets the spark and explodes into a flame quickly. On the other hand, jet fire is induced when a pressurised gas line pipe ruptures, enabling the flammable liquid to escape into the air. Like pool fire, it sits idle and ignites the fire when something comes in contact with it.

Due to the nature and impacts of hydrocarbon fire, it’s given a Class B rating because they can only be put out using dry fire-retardant chemicals.

Hydrocarbon Fire Prevention

The right way to prevent a hydrocarbon fire is to invest in an efficient IR3 Flame Detector and spark detection systems. IR3 Flame Detectors deliver superior performance in the detection of hydrocarbon fires. These systems utilise the latest IR flame detection algorithms to ensure maximum safety of the employees and equipment with false alarm immunity.

IR3 Flame Detectors are tested independently to measure their efficiency in detecting a hydrocarbon fuel fire at 200 feet in less than five seconds. Furthermore, these detectors deliver first-class flame detection with an intelligent heated optic for better results. Thus, reducing false alarms and alerting the plant operators at the right time.

For further queries on the IR3 Flame Detector, please get in touch with us. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

The author is an active blogger and renowned for providing innovative solutions such as the IR3 Flame Detector, gas detectors and turbidity analysers in Australia etc. to the Oil & Gas, Chemical, Petrochemical, Manufacturing, Food, Pharmaceutical, Water Treatment, and many other industries across Australia and New Zealand. Visit https://prodetec.com.au/ for more details.

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