Burning hay to blame for strange smell in the valley - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Burning hay to blame for strange smell in the valley

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MOXEE, Wash.-- An unusual smell is hanging around the Yakima Valley, and burning hay is to blame.

Some people say it smells like burning garbage, even marijuana, but it's just a couple hundred tons of cow feed that's stinking up the valley.
Tom Devries owns Devries Family Farms, a dairy plant off SR-24, about 20 miles east of Yakima. He says an employee noticed smoke coming from an 800-ton hay pile on Monday morning.

They were able to remove some hay and keep it from burning, but 300-400 tons are still smoldering on the farm, producing thick, white smoke, that's covering the valley.
And with the heavy inversion layer that's trapping the smoke close to the surface, the smell could stick around for a while.

"I wish there was something I could do, I think we're trying to do everything we can to minimize that. It's just an unfortunate situation that happened," said Devries.

East Valley fire crews did respond to the fire Monday, and helped start the process of putting it out. Tuesday, employees were busy putting water on the hay.

Crews say the fire started from spontaneous combustion. If there's too much moisture in the hay bale, it can sometimes ignite.

Devries estimates his loss at $75,000-$100,000 worth of hay.


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