Hundreds of bales of hay catch fire in Wagoner County

Posted at 12:45 PM, Mar 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-06 16:17:56-05

WAGONER COUNTY, Okla. -- Firefighters are responding after 500 bales of hay caught fire in Wagoner County Tuesday afternoon.

Four agencies responded to the fire, but emergency management officials said they have also relied on help from ranch hands.

Officials said the fire spread over the course of an hour. The fire was sparked after a person lit a fire in a pit near dry grass. 

Crews are expected to be battling the fire until Wednesday morning. 

A red flag warning is in effect Tuesday due to high winds. 

Officials said the ranch where the fire occurred sustained about $16,000 worth of damage. 

"Hay bales burn from the inside out. Once they're on fire it goes right to the inside and burns the inside out. They've got 500 bales. We'll be here throughout the day, the evening, and possibly overnight just to keep these bales under control, said Brandon Wren with Wagoner County Emergency Management.

Emergency management teams across the state had volunteer departments ready. They said with peak fire danger, crews had to prepare for the worst.

"We're talking within 20 minutes it can go a mile I think, based on current numbers that we have. With that wind pushing, if we don't stop it before it hits a housing addition we start to lose houses and we start to lose structures," said Michael Dunham with Mayes County Emergency Management.
In rural areas like Mayes County, volunteer departments are a necessity. But these firefighters often take days off from their paid jobs to help the community.

"Going away from their family, going away from their job, losing money in fact but going in to tackle these fires.. and they don't get anything but a "thank you," Dunham said.
All across Oklahoma it was a team effort to address peak fire conditions, with the goal of protecting lives and property.

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