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Hay truck fire burns 25 tons, shuts Hwy. 97 north of Terrebonne

Highway 97 hay truck fire TripCheck 815-1
ODOT TripCheck
Smoke from burning hay truck rises as traffic is stopped on Highway 97 Saturday aftenroon
Angela Hagen
Firefighters hose down burning hay removed from truck along Hwy. 97 N. of Terrebonne

(Update: Redmond Fire provides details)

TERREBONNE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A hay truck caught fire and closed U.S. Highway 97 north of Terrebonne Saturday afternoon, backing up traffic for miles. Removing and dousing the smoking hay delayed a full reopening.

The fire was reported shortly before 2 p.m. along the southbound lanes of the highway, quickly putting up a smoke column visible on ODOT's TripCheck cameras to the north, at the Ogden Wayside.

A semi-truck pulling two tandem flatbed trailers full of hay caught fire shortly before 2 p.m. on the highway north of Eby Avenue, Redmond Fire Battalion Chief Garrick Terry said.

The driver had pulled over to safety and disconnected the semi from the trailers, Terry said. No injuries were reported.

The first engine crew to arrive found both trailers, hauling about 25 tons of hay, engulfed in flames, the fire official said. In addition, a brush fire had started to burn west of the trailers.

Firefighters got an attack line around the brush fire and kept it from spreading, Terry said.

Another engine, three water tenders and a BLM brush engine were called in to help fight the hay fire.

Terry said crews were on scene, pulling apart and extinguishing the hay until after 8 p.m. ODOT and a neighboring ranch provided heavy equipment to push they hay off the road and help with extinguishing the fire.

Mutual-aid help also was provided by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County and Crooked River Ranch fire departments and Oregon  State Police.

ODOT spokesman Peter Murphy said lanes initially were closed in both directions near milepost 114, and with no detour in place, motorists were advised to use an alternate route.

One lane of traffic reopened shortly before 3 p.m. Murphy said the two northbound lanes were being used with flaggers to get traffic around the fire scene, where smoking hay that was removed from the burning flatbeds was being, broken apart and hosed down.

It was one of several vehicle and brush fires that firefighters tackled Saturday as temperatures soared to or above 100 degrees around the region.

Another new wildfire was Incident 642 east of Hampton, which crews held at 6 1/2 acres, BLM spokeswoman Lisa Clark said.

Several engines, with air support, stopped the fire, but Clark warned that the high temperatures and very dry fuel were a challenge during mop-up efforts.

The fire was human-caused, she said, but the specific cause was under investigation.

A heat advisory, read flag warning and other National Weather Service advisories are due to begin Sunday, along with a chance of showers and thunderstorms.

Wildfire was stopped at just over 6 acres east of Hampton
Article Topic Follows: Fire

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