Sept. 28--Fire officials in Yolo County late Friday continued to battle a multimillion-dollar fire along Interstate 505 near Winters that has consumed 20,000 tons of hay, agriculture equipment and four structures.
The fire was first reported about 10:30 p.m. Thursday between Winters and Vacaville in Yolo County. The hay belonged to Haykingdom, a company that super-compresses hay for export to Asia.
Winters Fire Chief Aaron McAlister said the cause of the fire is still unknown. Twenty-five firefighters from Yolo County fire departments remained on the scene late Friday, dousing flames with water.
"We still have windy conditions that continues to be a threat to the unburned product," McAlister said.
He said crews will likely pull back today and leave the fire to smolder.
The fire started on a hay stack placed outside and quickly spread because of the high winds, said September Ford, Haykingdom office manager.
"The fire started jumping from stack to stack," she said.
No workers were injured in the incident.
Vacaville Fire Protection District Deputy Fire Chief Doug Rogers said four large hay barns, valued at $250,000 each, were lost in the blaze. A large, fairly new processor that compresses hay into bales also burned. It was valued at $2 million.
Ford declined to put a price tag on the fire, but noted that the facility processes 46,000 tons of hays annually.
"We lost about one-third of what we process, and it's still burning" she said.
Firefighters from Solano, Sacramento and Yolo counties and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection fought the blaze. Crews used water tenders and engines to pour water on the fire. Bulldozers were also used.
On Friday, the effects of the fire were felt as far away as Santa Clara County. Residents throughout the south Bay Area reported seeing smoke.
"We were picking up higher levels of particulates between 9 and 11 a.m. Then it dropped in half when the winds shifted," said Ralph Borrmann, spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
The Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District issued an air quality watch for Yolo County, Vacaville and Dixon.
"The smoke may settle down here due to the changing winds," said Tom Hall, district spokesman.
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