Lincoln County Firefighters had a long, hot job ahead of them Tuesday after a barn filled with 300 bales of hay caught fire at Pork Hill Farm on Ky. 78 outside of Stanford.
Firefighters got a call at about 7:30 a.m. and when they arrived on the scene found a barn fully engulfed in flames, Fire Chief Danny Glass said.
"The barn was almost gone when we got here," he said. "We could have put the barn out; we can't put out the hay."
Glass said hay bales are wrapped so tightly that water doesn't permeate the surface, making it next to impossible to extinguish a fire inside the bale unless you can unroll it.
After the barn burned away, the hay bales continued to smolder, sending up smoke visible from more than a mile away. Glass said firefighters would be on-scene the rest of the day keeping the ground around the fire wet so it couldn't spread to a nearby tobacco barn.
The hay could continue to smolder for a week, he added.
Pork Hill Farm owner David Campbell said he saw smoke from his house Tuesday morning and called 911. When he got out to the barn, the fire hadn't developed much.
"It got bad quick (with) the breeze and the wind," he said. "It went quick."
Campbell, who has farmed in Lincoln County for 65 years, estimated he lost around $6,000 worth of hay in the fire, along with the barn and a tractor stored in the barn he used for pulling the hay.
Campbell would have used the hay to feed beef cattle raised on the farm. His barn was insured, so he said he's hopeful that will help with the cost of the loss.
Glass said there was no electricity running to the barn, making the only obvious source for the fire the hay bales. If the bales got hot enough, it's possible they could have reached ignition point, he said. The official cause, however, has not been determined.
Campbell said he's glad the damage wasn't any worse.
"It's not my house; it's not a life," he said. "This can all be replaced."