The fire was first reported at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday between Winters and Vacaville in Yolo County. The hay belonged to a company called Haykingdom, whose business includes super-compressing hay and shipping it overseas, fire officials said.
Vacaville Fire Protection District Deputy Fire Chief Doug Rogers said an estimated 100 to 200 tons of hay was consumed by the flames that lit up the night sky. The mounds of charred and smoldering hay continued to busy firefighters through the day Friday.
Rogers said four large hay barns, valued at $250,000 each, were lost in the blaze. Also, a large, fairly new processor valued at $2 million, that compresses the hay into bales, was burned up.
"You could be looking at $5 million in loss," said Rogers.
Firefighters from Solano, Sacramento and Yolo counties and Cal Fire fought the blaze.
"The north wind this morning was probably blowing 35 mph out there," said Rogers. "It started on the north end of the property and kept going from stack to stack to stack. We were trying to cut it off and finally got it contained on the south end, keeping it out of their offices and probably another eight to ten buildings."
Firefighters used water tenders and engines to pour water on the fire. Bulldozers were also used.
"I've seen a lot of hay fires, but nothing of that magnitude," said Rogers, who said the hay would burn for quite a while. Firefighters worked through the night were still on duty mid-day Friday.
Cause of the fire is under investigation. The California Highway Patrol noted that traffic was not affected.
PHOTO: A Sacramento Metro firefighter waters down burning hay at a fire that started Thursday night and burned acres of stored hay in Winters, Calif. at Haykingdom, a hay exporting company Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. Several large hay barn structures have been destroyed. Lezlie Sterling/Sacramento Bee