Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
Firefighters pull apart and douse smoldering hay bales on Highway 35 north of Pine Grove. To reopen the road, the hay was placed a few yards at a time into a loader, which then put it in an ODOT truck for transport to another location — and more soaking.
As of Friday, September 21, 2018
Highway 35 was closed for about 90 minutes Tuesday afternoon after a load of hay on a flatbed trailer caught fire while the truck towing it was traveling northbound near Dethman Ridge Road.
The truck dropped hay onto the highway from Dethman Ridge to just south of Ehrck Hill/Fir Mountain Road, where the truck came to a stop at about 2 p.m.
The owner and driver, Laurel Marie Sophie-Ravens of Odell, declined comment. She was able to drive the truck away, but the tires on the trailer had melted from the heat. No one was injured.
Wy’East Fire District and Oregon Department of Forestry responded, and spent about an hour pulling the bales apart, flames continuing to erupt from within. ODOT workers routed vehicles onto Dethman, Van Horn and Webster drives and Fir Mountain and Ehrck Hill roads.
Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Transportation also responded, along with Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.
Trooper Travis Paulsen said at press time no citation would be issued.
After methodically dousing the hay firefighters and ODOT loaded it onto a truck and took it to state property near Odell for further wetting-down; the hay awaits disposal by Sophie-Ravens.