On Saturday, June 24, the Clare Fire Department responded to report of hay bales burning at 6891 E. Grass Lake Road in Isabella County at the farm owned by Chris Reger. The large round bales were stacked several high out in a field. On arrival there were several bales on fire and the owner was working with his skid steer separating the bales.
Clare Fire Fighters were on scene for approximately six hours and 300 bales were destroyed. The cause of the fire is believed to be spontaneous combustion due to wet hay.
Chief Chapman reported the Clare Fire Department used nearly 250,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire. They were assisted by nine different agencies: Michigan DNR, Mobile Medical Response, Surrey Township Fire Department, Nottowa Sherman Fire Department, Garfield Township Fire Deppartment, Isabella NE Fire Department, Tribal Fire, Coleman Fire Department. Harrison Community Fire Department stood by the station until Clare Fire Department cleared the scene.
Fortunately, two bulldozers from the DNR were available and two neighbors came over with skid steers to help move the bales. Clare Fire Department returned to the scene the next morning to extinguish a few hot spots. Later in the afternoon, the CFD returned and found a 100-foot x 100-foot area of loose hay burning in the field. There were no injuries.
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