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Blaze burns through hay supply
hay fire pic1
An estimated 1,000 tons of hay bales have been destroyed as of Monday afternoon in a fire at G. J. Silva Dairy near Harding and Common roads. - photo by SABRA STAFFORD / The Journal

The thick billows of smoke moving over Turlock Monday were from a fire that swept through a hay barn at a Turlock dairy — destroying an estimated 1,000 tons of hay bales in the process.

The fire ignited around 7 a.m. Monday at the G.J. Silva Dairy near Harding and Commons roads, said Turlock Rural Fire Chief Rick Fortado. The cause of the fire is as of yet undetermined.

Fire crews concentrated their efforts Monday on keeping the blaze contained to the one structure, which held about 1,000 tons of hay, Fortado said.

The neighboring structure houses about 600 tons of hay.

The loss of the hay was estimated at $360,000.

The fire is expected to continue burning for a couple of weeks.

“With this type of fire there is nothing we can do but let it burn out,” Fortado said.

The last crews left the scene around 8 a.m. Tuesday with hay bales still smoldering.

In addition to Turlock Rural, crews from Turlock, Keyes, Mountain View, Westport, and Merced County fire departments were at the scene, as well as American Medical Response and Red Cross.

The Red Cross was supplying the estimated 35 fire fighters with food and water.

The cows housed near the structure were moved out of harm’s way and no injuries were reported.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.