Haystack Fires are becoming more Prevalent in the Lower Valley - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Haystack Fires are becoming more Prevalent in the Lower Valley

YAKIMA, Wa -    Haystack fires have been a big problem in the Lower Valley this summer.  Yakima County Fire District #5 tells KNDO that they have responded to nine hay stack fires in the last month.

In most instances, it's wet hay that is causing the fires, but farmers and ranchers could save themselves some money in lost hay by calling for as soon as the fire starts.

"We've had 'em anywhere from 100 ton to 500 ton of hay, which is a lot of hay," says Kevin Frazier, Deputy Chief of Yakima Fire District #5.

Of the nine haystack fires that Yakima Fire District #5 has responded to, six have been caused by wet hay.  When hay is wet it can spontaneously combust from the heat and cause a fire.

"Well, we had a lot of rain.  Some (farmers and ranchers) didn't have a choice.  Lose it or bail," says Frazier.

There was a haystack fire in Sunnyside, which caused about $75,000 in damages earlier this week.  Frazier says big losses like this are avoidable.  Farmers and Ranchers just need to call for help right away.

"They try to mitigate it themselves.  They open the bales, give them oxygen and then they really start to burn."

When this happens, they don't have enough water near the fire to put it out and that's why that's why they need to call the fire department. 

Frazier says that farmers and ranchers could also help themselves by having equipment nearby to move haystacks when a fire starts.  It slows down firefighters when they have to move the hay.  More hay burns and they end up losing more money.