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Hay Fire Burns About 100 Bales

COMANCHE CO., Okla_ More than 100 bales of hay caught fire Monday in Southeast Comanche County.  

It started around 11:00AM in a field off Southeast 120th and Rose Road. The huge bales were tightly stacked, so once the fire started, it spread easily. Four departments were called in to help put it out. They got the fire contained within about 45 minutes and then made sure it stayed within the smoldering bales.

They believe it was the heat from a pickup truck's exhaust. The owner was in the field working with the hay when it started. Hulen Volunteer Fire Department Chief Chris Carter said at some point, it usually becomes a waiting game for a hay bale fire to be totally out.

"We're going to be breaking down bales, so we can get those bales extinguished," Carter said. "We've got more wind coming in. The wind is going to be changing shortly. We are praying the rain comes in soon."

Carter had crews breaking down bales while fire fighters sprayed them to speed up that long process.

"If we weren't doing this like we're doing it right now, it would probably be a week or a week-and-a-half before these were extinguished," Carter said. "We expect to be out here another 2-3 hours breaking these down."

Breaking them down does not just speed up the process; it prevents spreading, a worry with Monday's high winds.

"We've got a lot of trees here and a lot of heavy fields over here that are unburned," Carter said. "That's what our concern was with the winds going to be changing. We were concerned it would be blowing into the trees and across the road."

With this fire just being days after another hay bale fire, Carter said the weather is opportune for it. He said preventing these fires from happening is not an easy task.

"Keep it covered, keep it the best you can," Carter said. "It's just something that's going to happen. Things like this happen, the machinery creating sparks. Heat from exhaust can cause the grass to catch fire. These round bales are so compact, so dry, that they are going to burn pretty fast."

The owner of the property and oil field workers on the land were also helping the fire department by moving hay bales that have not caught on fire to safer areas. Around 50 more bales were close to the fire. So, that definitely helped it from spreading. Moving those 50 other hay bales not only kept the fire from spreading, it saved the owner thousands of dollars. About $8,000 worth of hay was already destroyed in the fire.

This is the second hay bale fire in our area in three days.  One on Saturday near the Goodyear plant was caused by sparks off a power line.

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