Fire destroys large bale stack near Outlook, Sask.

More than 1,000 round hay bales were destroyed near Outlook, Sask., Friday afternoon after overheated hay combusted.

The Outlook Fire Department responded to the call at the Ontario Dehy cube processing plant about 4:40 p.m.

The Macrorie and Conquest fire departments also responded with pumpers and brush fire apparatus.

Crews worked throughout the night, and the fire was declared under control about noon on Saturday.

The fire was started by overheated hay, said Outlook Fire Chief Dalas King.

He said easterly gusting winds of 35 to 55 km-h quickly fueled the fire and prevented firefighters and machinery from getting close.

The wind forced King’s crews to take a defensive stance and focus on saving surrounding infrastructure.

“Our biggest problem was the wind,” he said.

“It was pushing through the bale stack. One bale is easy to deal with, but this was 1,000 to 1,200 bales that were all in rows. To pull apart that many bales physically can’t be done.”

King said a storage shed was destroyed, and an electrical building was damaged.

“Our main concern was to protect the surrounding buildings and chemical shed and anhydrous vessel,” he said.

Employees of the site are now using company equipment to move and spread the smoldering material, which is expected to smoke for the next few weeks.

King said damage is estimated at $100,000, but that figure is expected to rise.

No one was injured.

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