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Early morning fire Aug. 4 burns barn, 250 tons of hay

— An accidental fire last week destroyed a barn and approximately 250 tons of hay stored inside.

“And it started to try to turn into a wildfire, but we got on that fast enough,” said Chief Allan Yearsley, Salmon River Rural Fire Department, keeping the blaze contained to the structure owned by Ernie Robinson. The square hay bales burned in the fire had just been moved into the barn a few days prior to feed his cattle for the winter, according to Yearsley.

No injuries were reported in the early morning fire reported Aug. 4, around 4:50 a.m. (MT) on the Robinson Ranch across the Salmon River at Twin Bridges (milepost 216) near Russell Road. Thirteen SRRFD personnel, five engines and two water tenders responded. Cause is suspected from some green hay being put up that, due to heat and moisture, self-ignited.

“It was totally engulfed by the time we got there,” Yearsley said of the hay barn, with the initial attack to extinguish the fire that soon moved into defensive mode to prevent its spread. One of Robinson’s son-in-laws brought in a dozer and put a fire line around the structure, he added, “which was greatly appreciated.”

Efforts were expanded by a Forest Service crew and engine that showed up around 10:30 a.m., assisting in running and monitoring sprinklers on the smoldering structure. The SRRFD crew left the scene at 8:30 p.m. As of last Friday, Aug. 7, Yearsley said crews would have to be monitoring the site daily to ensure there were no fire re-ignitions.

“It’s just an awfully scary fire season this year,” Yearsley said, “and I hope people keep that in mind when they’re doing their activities.”


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