IN BRIEF: From Wildfire to Hay and Back Again

Forklift pulls hay from the fire.
Equipment operator uses forklift to pull hay from the fire, so the hay can be spread out and doused. (Nate Trauernicht/UC Davis)


Campus firefighters continue to battle the LNU Lightning Complex fires, which Cal Fire reported this morning (Aug. 25) at 352,913 acres and 27 percent contained.

A crew set out Monday (Aug. 24) on Brush Truck 34, assigned to 24-hour shifts in Winters, Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht said. The crew: Kyle Dubs, captain; Derek Carthy, engineer; and Mike Cullen and Meggie Elledge, firefighters.

Brush 34 had arrived back at the station the night before, after having been gone since Aug. 13 with a different crew: Paul Rush, captain; Corrie Beall, engineer; and Cara Martinez and Christopher Hay, firefighters. They worked on the Lake Fire and Ranch 2 fires in Southern California and, finally, the LNU Lightning Complex.

Capt. Steve Dunn has been away from campus since Aug. 17, working as a strike team leader (commanding units from other agencies), first on the Jones Fire west of Nevada City and now the LNU Lightning Complex.

As of Monday morning (Aug. 24), the UC Davis Fire Department had provided nearly 700 person-hours of labor toward fighting wildfires around the state.

Read more about UC Davis' response to the wildfires.

Finishing the job

Hay fires are notoriously difficult to put out, but the UC Davis Fire Department and other campus units, along with the Davis Fire Department, stuck with it for six hours Friday night into Saturday morning (Aug. 21-22) and got the job done at the Dairy Cattle Facility.

Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht said his department got the call at 7:40 p.m., and the operation finished up after 1:30 in the morning, with help from the Department of Animal Science, Agricultural Services, Facilities Management and the Office of Research, as well as the city of Davis.

There were no injuries to people or cattle, the chief said. He said a faulty light fixture started the fire in a hay storage facility, which had no significant damage..

“All the hay — approximately 120 to 125 tons — had to be removed by machinery, spread out and extinguished,” he said. He estimated the loss at about $35,000.

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