Sacto 911

Covering crime, police and courts in the Sacramento region

Alfalfa fire smoke from Dixon drifts to Sacramento

08/21/2014 9:34 AM

08/21/2014 9:35 AM

An alfalfa haystack fire that broke out at a Dixon dairy farm has been contained but will continue to smolder for at least two days, according to the Dixon Fire Department.

“Haystack fires can’t be fully extinguished,” said Greg Lewis, division chief of the Dixon Fire Department. “But it’s no longer a serious threat.”

The department estimates that about 500 tons of haystacks – worth about $180,000 – were lost in the fire, which sent smoke drifting over Sacramento.

At around 4 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters responded to a building on HD Ranch near Midway Road and Sikes Road, where stores of green baled alfalfa caught fire. A pair of engines, two water tenders and two command vehicles were dispatched.

Firefighters and farmworkers immediately worked to remove the burning bales and poured water over the remaining feed. The fire continued to burn until 1 a.m. Thursday.

Lewis said the fire “was controlled to the point where the building in which the hay was stored was not damaged.”

However, the farm will have to assess whether smoke has damaged the salvaged bales before feeding them to livestock.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but Lewis said he suspects it could be a lack of moisture in the hay bales combined with the fact that they were densely packed.

“It works just like a compost pile or a freshly cut grass,” he said. “When you have a haystack, when the moisture content is low and it is densely packed it generates a decomposition and chemical process that generates a lot of heat and if that isn’t controlled, it can get so hot to the point it ignites.”

Despite the smoky smell in some Sacramento neighborhoods Thursday morning, the fire did not cause any noticeable decline in air quality, said Lori Kobza, spokeswoman for the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.

Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District officials said they will continue to monitor the direction of the wind and the level of particulate matter in the Sacramento region.

“The issue with hay and alfalfa fires is that they really have to smolder out and it’s kind of a long process,” said district spokesman Tom Hall.

Sacto 911 Staff

Bill Lindelof

Cathy Locke

Andy Furillo
Superior Court

Denny Walsh
Federal Court

More Sacto 911


Send news tips

Sign up for breaking news alerts

Arrest Logs

Crime Q&A

Sacramento Bee reporter Cathy Locke answers your questions about crime news, trends and issues. Look up specific cases using Arrest Logs and Sacramento Superior Courts case database.

Submit your question


Join the Discussion

The Sacramento Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service