A fire in the parking lot of the Boy Scout High Adventure Base on south highway 89 near Hoback Junction at about 2:30 pm last Thursday destroyed a truck and RV and ignited a small grass fire. Fire Marshal Kathy Clay says the fire the fire started in the RV and spread to the adjacent truck. She says investigations are considering the possibility that the fire was started by a headlamp that was being recharged in the front seat of the RV – probably powered by a lithium ion battery – and overheated. Associated Press reports that the chemistry of lithium batteries makes them more likely to catch fire under certain conditions because, unlike other rechargeable batteries, they contain a flammable electrolyte and are kept pressurized. The AP report goes on that if the batteries have a manufacturing flaw, are damaged, are overcharged or are exposed to excessive temperatures they can overheat, causing a condition known as “thermal runaway.” That’s a situation in which an increase in temperature causes continuous further increases, and they catch fire.
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