Courtesy Photo
Sparks from a grinder ignited a fire in about 5,000 bales of hay at a ranch in the Barclay area July 17. Two vehicles were also lost, but no injuries were reported.

About 5,000 bales of hay were destroyed in a hay barn fire July 17 at a ranch in the Barclay area, south of the Union Pacific Railroad line.

At the county commission meeting July 22, Lincoln County Emergency Management and County District Fire Chief Eric Holt reported the fire was accidental, caused by sparks from a grinder the rancher was using while doing some work on a canopy structure.

“Caliente and Panaca Fire both responded,” Holt said. “By the time we arrived, it was fully involved and we would not have been able to put enough water on it to put it out. So we had to let it burn, working instead to keep it contained there and from spreading to nearby BLM land. We had to spend three days out there with 24-hour monitoring, including myself, keeping it well watered down and using water from irrigation lines.”

Nevada Department of Forestry was asked to assist with brush clearing and fuel reduction and an engine was sent from the Las Vegas office.

Holt said the rancher, who did not want to be identified, reported the estimated loss was about $75,000 worth of hay for the winter, plus the loss of a backhoe and a flatbed trailer loaded with hay. “In about three minutes, the fire went from one side to the other, too fast for us to respond quickly enough.”

As a result of the fire, Holt said he has talked with Barclay area residents about the possibility of putting a small fire engine on site. “I have an opportunity to possibly purchase a couple of trucks that Pioche Fire is looking to replace. A barn is available in which to station the truck out there and keep it out of the weather.”

He noted the value of having an engine in the Barclay area is great “because of the potential for wildland fires down in that south area. It wouldn’t hurt to have a truck close by. This fire could have easily spread to BLM lands only three-quarters of a mile away.”

Commissioners will likely hear more on this proposal in future meetings.

Commissioner Jared Brackenbury said the ranch owners told him later how appreciative they were of the fire department staying on-site and keeping watch around the clock for possible flare-ups.