Fire destroys hay bale storage unit near Magrath

Magrath Fire Department responded to a hay bale fire South of Lethbridge Saturday afternoon that is expected to burn for two days. Erik Mikkelsen / Global News

LETHBRIDGE – Magrath fire crews arrived on scene at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday after getting reports of a hay bale fire south of Lethbridge.

Hundreds of bales were stored in the shelter, continuing to burn for hours. No injuries were reported, but sources on scene say the loss will be devastating to the farm.

Fire crews and neighboring farms quickly sprung into action to move other hay bales away from the fire. A separate structure housing more hail bales is less than 200 feet away from the initial fire.

“We have another barn just in behind, and because it’s made of a tin structure it can heat up also,” said Magrath Fire Chief Cliff Blackwell. “We don’t want bales in that one to combust, therefore halving our resources and doubling our danger.”

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Family on scene confirmed that the site is L .W. Dennis Farms. Blackwell said putting out hay fires is extremely difficult.

“The hay bale is bound so tight that the fire just creeps to the core and every time you put water on it all it does is just steam, and then dries off and just reignites,” he said. “It’s a never ending process and a waste of water.”

At about 6 p.m. fire crews started to cut holes into the structure on the west side to allow more oxygen inside, hoping that the added heat would help the shelter collapse.

“Right now our guys are cutting some holes,” said Blackwell. “We are just trying to speed up the oxygen process and feed the fire a little bit so we can control is and get it to burn down a little faster.”

Crews said that the fire will continue to burn for until at least Monday, but they will remain on scene and monitor it’s activity.

The family declined the request for an interview with Global News, but they would like to thank all fire crews and neighbors for their help.

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