Tractor fire ignites 350-400 hay bales

    There was no extinguishing an estimated 350-400 stacked hay bales that were ignited from a tractor fire early this week on Bob and Jippi Milner’s property, 28 miles southwest of Imperial.
    Doug Mitchell, Imperial Volunteer Fire Department (IVFD) chief, said they were forced to let the bales burn.
    “Twenty trucks and 100,000 gallons of water wouldn’t have touched it,” Mitchell said.
    The bales caught fire Sunday night after a parked tractor about 20-30 feet away started on fire. Mitchell said the tractor owned by Milner had been used earlier, and possibly debris underneath was ignited from a hot engine.
    Milner and others attempted to extinguish the tractor fire, Mitchell said, but it spread to the bales nearby, likely after one of the tires blew out.
    Imperial and Lamar firefighters put little water on the bales because it would have been futile, Mitchell said.
    The initial call was received about 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Crews of firefighters remained on scene, relieving each other throughout the night and into the next day. Mitchell said the bales were still burning Wednesday.
    The tractor was totaled, and all the bales were lost, Mitchell said. Twenty firefighters and 10 trucks from both departments responded.

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