From a DDs (Mid-Tier) point of view, causing fire damage to a new or inexperienced player can have a significant effect on the game, but vs an experienced BB player... not really. You lack the DPS.
If I am sitting in smoke spamming HE at BB, that means I am not scouting, screening or smoking for my team, plus my torpedoes are pretty much dormant. Sometimes, spamming HE damage actually is of a negative benefit to winning the game. So not useless, but less than useless.
It just all depends on the tactical situation.