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Thousands of dollars of hay lost in Comanche County grass fire

Comanche County_Firefighters from several departments raced to save homes and barns from being burned by a ferocious grassfire that broke out near Cache on Wednesday afternoon.  Grass and gusting winds quickly fueled flames that raced toward several structures near Airport and Coombs Roads.  The cause of the fire is under investigation, but the landowner says he believes someone started it by burning trash.  The incident has at least one county fire chief calling for a burn ban.

The fire destroyed about 80 round bales of hay on the property, and although no homes were burned...hay is expensive.  A bale of hay can cost $100 each, so this fire destroyed thousands of dollars worth of hay.  Cache's fire chief says it's only a matter of time before a home is lost. 

The fire already had picked up steam by the time fire crews arrived after initially getting incorrect location information.  "Upon arrival, we had extreme heavy fire, heavy flames approaching the barn and house to the south of us - that was our main priority," said Cache Fire Chief Dale Winham.  "I called in immediately for all departments within this area, and we began to attack and do structural protection." 

With all of the efforts from volunteer firefighters, they controlled the blaze, and accomplished their goal.  No structures were harmed, despite the stubborn fire.  "It became an extremely hard battle to contain the fire," said Winham.  "We would put it out, and it would start back again."  Chief Winham says the stubborn fire is not a good sign with windier conditions on tap for the rest of the week.  "If we don't have fire crews available immediately, the fire is going to move, and we're going to wind up losing a structure or hurting someone."

Winham says he is all for a burn ban in Comanche County, but the rest of the county's chiefs also must agree and get a vote in favor of it from the county commissioners.  "I believe, now, we're going to contact these fire chiefs over the next couple of days, and see what we have and see a majority of them agreeing to a burn ban," said Comanche County Public Information Officer Chris Killmer.  "If that is the case, we'll go ahead and put that on the agenda at the commissioners' meeting and let the board of commissioners vote on that."

Comanche County's Western District Commissioner, Susan Ulrich, was at the scene, but unavailable for comment.  Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, and if they approve a burn ban, it would last for seven days unless they decide to renew it the following week.

Count on 7News to keep you updated.

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