Authorities investigating hay fire near skatepark |

Authorities investigating hay fire near skatepark

Steve Benson

A fire ignited on ranch land in Carbondale Saturday night and burned some 50 tons of hay.The cause of the fire, which was still burning last night, is under investigation. The fire, which started around 9 p.m., destroyed an estimated 50 bales of hay on Paul Nieslanik’s ranch on County Road 101, near White Hill. Each bale weighs about a ton. The blaze was fully contained yesterday.”We had people up there investigating,” said Doug Davis, public information officer for the Carbondale Fire Department. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is assisting the investigation. He said there are several possible causes, including lightning and spontaneous combustion. There were also people who had attended Saturday’s skateboard festival – Thrasher Magazine’s Carbondale Run – camping near the ranch when the blaze ignited, he said. “There are lots of possibilities,” he added. Davis said firefighters are not actively fighting the fire, but will monitor it until it burns out.Carbondale Fire Chief Ron Leach said “haystack fires are notoriously difficult to completely extinguish. In some cases they can continue to burn for weeks.”Heavy equipment is expected to arrive soon to help firefighters break up the bales that are burning internally. The fire is expected to burn out in the next few days, and the smoke is not toxic, Davis added.Thirty firefighters battled the blaze Saturday night, including five from the Basalt Fire Department. Steve Benson’s e-mail address is

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