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A 230-ton haystack on Birch Lane ignites, destroying about $46,000 worth of hay.

HOLLY M. GILL/MADRAS PIONEER - Crews from the Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 work to douse a haystack fire on Southwest Birch Lane on Sept. 11. It was the second major hay fire in the district in less than a week. 
For the second time in less than a week, a haystack caught fire Sept. 11, resulting in a costly loss of property and days of smoldering hay.

The Jefferson County Fire Department responded to the report of the haystack fire on Southwest Birch Lane just after 2 p.m., and arrived to find flames shooting out of the haystack.

A 230-ton haystack went up in flames, but firefighters kept the flames from reaching an adjacent haystack.

Capt. Kasey Skaar reported that the fire department responded with five staff members, five volunteers, an engine, a water tender, and a rescue vehicle. The units were on scene "to protect exposure and assist as farmers try to break down the haystack," he noted.

The owner of the haystack, Stan Sullivan, arrived shortly with a bale handler.

The fire was started by a flaming operation that got too close to the haystack, according to Skaar. The haystack, valued at $46,000, was a total loss.

Last week, a Sept. 6 early morning fire in a pole barn on Southwest Dover Lane burned about a third of the 600 tons of hay stored there. The hay was owned by Dave and Rachel Rydman.

The cause of that fire was "self heating from wet hay put up," Skaar said. The loss was estimated at about $120,000.

"Don't burn too close to combustibles," Skaar cautioned. "When it comes to hay, farmer knows best, but if there is any doubt that there could be wet hay, keep it separate and don't place it in a building."

In both cases, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services were on scene to assist.


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