Cause found for hay barn fire north of Prineville

Traced to spontaneous combustion

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - (Update: Cause found to be spontaneous combustion)

A day with temperatures rising to or above 100 degrees meant Central Oregon firefighters scrambled to put out numerous fires around the region, all reportedly caught small -- but a hay barn was lost to one blaze north of Prineville.

Crook County Fire & Rescue got the call shortly before 5 p.m. of the hay barn fire off the Madras Highway, about eight miles north of Prineville, said Fire Chief Matt Smith.

Two engines and two water tenders responded with a total of 10 firefighters, Smith said.

The 120-by-60-foot hay barn was a complete loss, he said, and will be smoldering all night, with crews on scene to make sure it doesn't flare up.

Fire officials said Wednesday the cause was determined to be spontaneous combustion, which can happen when hay is stacked or piled in a barn, especially if its moist.  High-moisture haystacks can have chemical reactions that build heat.

Officials said crews would be on scene all Wednesday, pulling apart the hay piles.


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