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Hay fire hampers baling efforts

Adamsville city workers, the Adamsville Fire Department, and the Leapwood Volunteer Fire Department work together to subdue a hay fire Friday afternoon. Staff Photos by Andrew Alexander

According to Marcus Tidwell of 324 Pleasant Ridge Loop outside of Adamsville city limits, a hay fire broke out in a field behind his house while he was baling hay around 2 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Tidwell believes the fire was caused by a loose ball bearing that fell from an undetermined location on his hay baler into a portion of the equipment he was using to collect the hay.

Speculation led Tidwell to believe that the heat, dry conditions, and the friction caused by the ball bearing that fell into his equipment sparked the flames that cost him his baler, and four full hay bales.

“The fire went up pretty quick, and I barely got the tractor unhooked in time,” said Tidwell who sat slightly shaken after the incident. “I was just glad I got out the fire.”

No one was injured in the fire, but according to Tidwell,  his 20-year-old hay baler was left completely unusable after the flames consumed it and a large portion of his hay field.

In addition to that loss, Tidwell watched $120 worth of hay become engulfed in flames before members of the Adamsville Fire Department, Adamsville city workers, and volunteers from the Leapwood Fire Department combined efforts to extinguish the fire. 

According to Area Forester Pete Moditz, the fire season has officially ended, and most summer seasons in McNairy County do not present conditions that would be a danger to farmers.

In normal circumstances there would be very little wind and very high humidity which makes it difficult for fires to spread, said Moditz.

Conversely, we are experiencing a dry summer right now and in conditions like these with intense heat and very little rain, fires tend to smolder much longer than they normally would.

“A bearing can heat up on a tractor and spark a fire when it’s really dry like this,” said Forester Moditz, “and when it’s this dry people have to be very careful.”

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