SANTA CLARA – Firefighters were dispatched to what was initially reported as a brush fire near the Claude Drive area of Santa Clara Monday morning. What they found was a largely self-contained haystack fire that was quickly doused due to pending high-wind concerns.
Last night a rancher had stacked bailed hay in a spot on his property bordering the Santa Clara River. When the rancher and others came by to finish the job the following morning, they discovered the stack was on fire, Santa Clara Fire Chief Dan Nelson said.
The haystack was quickly consumed by the fire and the fire department was contacted just before 11 a.m. Because the Santa Clara River was on one side of the burning haystack and a field surrounded it on the other side, Nelson said they planned to monitor the blaze and let it burn down. However, that changed with the possibility of 18-25 mph winds forecast for the afternoon.
The firefighters turned the hoses on the burning haystack and also used a backhoe to break it apart in order to douse any internal smoldering that could reignite the haystack if left alone.
Nelson said the cause of the fire is currently unknown and under investigation.
With the exception of the wind, the blaze was largely self-contained and did not immediately threaten nearby structures, nor was anyone harmed by the fire.
Last year a controlled burn in the area turned into a runaway fire due to high-winds.
Some people have been wanting to begin controlled burns lately, Nelson said, but have been denied due to the fire weather warnings.
Due to ongoing drought and dry conditions in the Southwest, Nelson said “I think this is the very beginning of a really bad fire season.”
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