A two-man crew from the B.C. Wildfire Service is onsite this morning to secure the surrounding forest. They are not trained to extinguish structural fires. (Photo Kelly Little / Black Press)

A two-man crew from the B.C. Wildfire Service is onsite this morning to secure the surrounding forest. They are not trained to extinguish structural fires. (Photo Kelly Little / Black Press)

Barn fire in Vanderhoof can’t be extinguished, only monitored

Two-man crew from B.C. Wildfire Service are onsite

A barn fire on Loop Road near Vanderhoof is adding to the smoky skies.

The fire started at 5:30 p.m. August 15.

Two initial-attack crew members with the B.C. Wildfire Service arrived onsite the morning of August 16. The fire was still burning. Their main focus was response and their objective was to be prepared for any new wildfire starts, protect exposures and the adjacent timber on the northwest corner of the barn.

The two-man crew secured the perimeter of the steel building with water hoses and sprinklers to cool down exposures and raise humidity.

“Humidity is moisture. So if you raise the moisture in the air it has positive benefits to the fire. But it won’t put the hay bales out,” Adam Dumonceaux said, of the B.C. Wildfire Service. “There is a lot of timber on the back-side and our main objective is to stop the fire from getting into that forest and protect the other buildings.”

According to Dumonceaux the hay was sitting on top of mineral soil so it doesn’t look like the fire can travel underground. The steel structure was intact but it did suffer visible damage.

The wildfire crew is not trained to extinguish structural fires. Even though the open structure houses hay, they are still considering it a structure fire and all they could do was monitor it and watch the contents burn.

When asked if the fire might have started due to green hay, Dumonceaux said. “It is common for hay to spontaneously combust, but ignition is undetermined.”

Owner, Jack Wu, of Top Hays farms said, “it could have been a green-hay start” but he didn’t necessarily agree with that idea. To him the fire appeared suspicious.

“It could have ignited spontaneously,” Dave Klassen, Top Hays field manger said. “But it is very suspicious.”

The barn fire is currently under investigation.

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