Fire Scorches 420-Plus Tons of Hay at Fresno Ranch

Tons of burning hay sent flames and smoke into the air in Central California early Tuesday prompting a health warning, authorities said.

More than 420 tons (381 metric tons) of hay caught on fire before midnight Monday at a ranch in Fresno County, said Capt. Jeremiah Wittwer of the Fresno County Fire Protection District. The hay is continuing to burn.

No one was injured, authorities said.

A structure covering the hay was destroyed, Wittwer said. He did not have a damage estimate, and the cause of the fire has not been determined, Wittwer said.

Firefighters worked to prevent the flames from spreading to other buildings, and no nearby structures had burned, authorities said.

Early Tuesday morning, firefighters left the burning hay to the owner. Wittwer said the owner was expected to bring in heavy equipment to spread out the hay and douse it with water.

Residents who see or smell the smoke should take caution, warned the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, which says that smoke can lead to serious health problems in sensitive groups.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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