Kansas hay fire burning since May 28

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Farm Forum

MOSCOW, Kan. (AP) — Crews in southwest Kansas are trying to salvage at least some hay from a fire that has burned thousands of bales so far.

About 51,000 bales owned by Abengoa Bioenergy and Cattle Empire have been burning since May 28 near Moscow in Stevens County. Fire Chief Darroll Munson told the Garden City Telegram (http://bit.ly/18L9OBx ) that nearly 18,000 additional hay bales may be saved. Munson said Monday that crews made progress on the blaze over the weekend and expected have the entire fire extinguished in the coming days. Heavy equipment was brought in over the weekend to tear down the bigger stacks of bales in effort to subdue the fire. Munson said firefighters were no longer working 12-hour shifts but were going out in small teams to spot check the blaze every hour. Munson said many homes in Moscow suffered smoke damage but no homes were lost and no injuries were reported. High winds that fire officials anticipated over the weekend didn’t materialize, aiding efforts to battle the blaze and keep residents in their homes. “It could be worse. We could have lost homes, but the good Lord blessed us,” Munson said. “We are very thankful that no one was injured and that there was no loss of homes or equipment.” A preliminary report indicated that the fire was caused by lightning but Munson said Monday those reports haven’t been confirmed and an investigation continues. Messages left seeking additional information Tuesday from Stevens County officials weren’t returned. Fire crews from Stevens County were aided by crews from Morton, Grant, Finney, Haskell and Seward counties in southwest Kansas, as well as Texas County, Okla., Hooker, Okla., and Tyron, Okla. Firefighters from the surrounding communities were released from duty in Moscow on Friday.