By the year 2009, there were over 280 fires and explosions caused by dust in the United States. These incidents that occurred within a period of 25 years caused 119 deaths and 700 injuries. Damages were in millions of dollars.
A number of factors come into play during the ignition and propagation of fire in a dust cloud. These factors include; composition of the dust and moisture content, size, and shape of the particle and turbulence in the system.
A mass of solid flammable materials heats up and burns slowly due to the limited surface area exposed to oxygen and thus, the energy is produced in a gradual and harmless manner. Things are quite different when the mass of material is fine dust and mixes with the air to form a dust cloud.