Illegal burn spreads to haystack while homeowner is out fishing

This December 2016 file photo for illustration shows Parowan Fire Department responding to a barn fire, Iron County, Utah, Dec. 16, 2016 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — About a dozen bales of hay were destroyed Monday afternoon after a homeowner in Parowan went fishing after reportedly setting fire to a nearby patch of weeds that later spread to a haystack.

Parowan Fire responded to the fire in the area of 150 N. 3700 West at approximately 3:30 p.m.

“The homeowner this morning went out and started a little patch of weeds on fire, which he didn’t have a county or even a burn permit (for), so he shouldn’t have been doing it to begin with,” Parowan Fire Chief David Schiers said.

“He started these weeds on fire and then thought it was out, apparently, and went fishing at Red Creek, and the wind came up this afternoon and blew it right into his haystack.”

Responding fire personnel were able to quickly suppress the fire moving through the stacked 500 pound bales of hay.

“We just stirred it up, took the hay bales apart, soaked them up – fairly simple,” Schiers said.

The initial call expressed concern about a nearby garage and propane tank, but firefighters controlled the fire before it spread to any structures.

It never did get into a real big fire,” Schiers said, “just got in there and started smoldering like most haystack fires do.”

Damage was limited to the 10-12 bales that caught fire, which were estimated to be worth approximately $1,500.

“It’s probably not worth a whole lot because it’s moldy,” Schiers said of the aged haystack. “It’s not worth anything now because it’s burnt.”

In addition to two Parowan Fire brush trucks, Brian Head Fire responded with a water tender and Paragonah Fire arrived with an engine and water tender. The three cities have a mutual aid agreement to assist one another in case of fire.

Deputies from Iron County Sheriff’s Office also arrived to assist.

Whether the homeowner receives a citation is at the discretion of the Sheriff’s Office, Schiers said.

Controlled burns can only be done by permit, Schiers said.

Permits may be obtained on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website and will only be granted if the clearing index allows. The permits are only valid for three days and can be voided in that period based on weather changes.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • DRT May 16, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Moldy haystack burned? I bet it was insured. Funny how many times over the years that I’ve seen “Jewish Lightening” strike moldy haystacks.
    Too bad it’s so hard to prove arson.

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