Cotton module fire sets farmer back

GERONIMO,OK (KSWO) -A local cotton farmer believes dry and windy conditions are to blame for a cotton module fire Tuesday morning just south of Geronimo.

The farmer believes there were small rocks inside the cotton module and since it's really dry out and recently warm...The rocks ignited a fire. And fires like these can result in costly damages.

Cotton fields in southwest Oklahoma are in full bloom. Gin manager, Brandon Varner says it's been a record year with a projected harvest of about 70,000 but it's also been dry causing fires like the one Tuesday morning.

"It's just pretty dry and we've seen more fires this year but we're harvesting a record number of acres, so that goes a long with it too," said Varner.

Months and months of time, energy and preparation burned to the ground.

"I mean this crop was planted in May, June time frame and of course it started way before then with getting field work ready and getting that ground prepared to plant cotton and these farmers just have such an investment in this crop," said Varner. "Some of this cotton seed cost north of 400 dollars a bag and it doesn't plant less than 10 acres on dry land."

Just one bale of cotton can make over 1,200 T-shirts, so losing just one of these modules also puts a big dent in their wallet.

"The average module right now has about 13-14 bales of cotton and it roughly about $5,000 in bale form," said Varner.

Even though there's a $5,000 deductible, Varner is thankful they have insurance, but not all farmers do. He hopes others will be cautious so no one loses their crop.

"It's nice to have that insurance to fall back on, but anytime a guy has worked all summer to grow this crop and you lose it in 30 minutes, it does hurt," said Varner.

The Comanche County Emergency Manager said this month alone, they have worked 5 cotton module fires. They warn other farmers to always be cautious and watch for dark spots that shows something is beginning to burn in the cotton.

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