Tracy Fire Division Chief Steve Hanlon said the fire department received a call of a grass fire on W. Von Sosten Road at 3:40 p.m.
When fire crews arrived they found a hay stack of 2,122 bales — approximately 15 feet high, 20 feet wide and 80 feet long — burning on one end of the stack.
The hay stack had been sitting at the farm for about three weeks.
Hanlon said calls were made to try and get a hay squeeze or a retriever to the scene and pull any unburned stacks away from the fire. Three local farmers showed up to pull the burning stack apart.
The fire department sent two engines and water tender to the scene as they tried to stop the spread of the flames through the hay.
“Our efforts were to keep the fire contained,” Hanlon said.
A Pacific Gas & Electric Co. electric service line above the hay stack leading from a power pole to the farm house began to melt and arc forcing the fire crews and hay salvage attempts to stop.
The power line eventually broke dropping part of the cable near the roadway.
The crews were able to save 353 bales from the flames leaving 1,769 bales to burn, estimated at 110 tons.
Hanlon said when the property owner, whom he declined to identify, arrived at the scene he moved several other large stacks of hay near the fire away.
The hay stacks burned through the night Thursday Hanlon said, with the fire dispatch receiving several calls from motorists on the freeway who saw the burning hay piles.
Hanlon said the remainder of the stack, now about 18 inches high will probably burn through Saturday, Sept. 21.
The fire department kept crews at the scene through midnight to watch the fire and keep the flames from igniting nearby trees next to W. Von Sosten Road. At midnight firefighters told the farmer who owned the hay it was now his responsibility to watch the fire and treat it like a control burn.
Hanlon said the flames burned everything within a 30 foot radius of the hay making an investigation into how the fire started impossible. He estimated the hay loss at $26,535.
This was the third hay fire in Tracy since April.
• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.