by Julie Ann Madden
About 3 p.m., a rural Akron, S.D., farmer was baling hay when the baler caught on fire Friday afternoon.
“I must have hit a rock that caused a spark,” said Austin Willms who was baling hay along 482nd Avenue, just south of 308th Street. “It’s just too dry.”
That spark was soon a fire roaring across the hay field owned by Virginia McCarthy and custom-farmed by Gary Witt of Hawarden.
By the time the Akron firefighters arrived, the fire had engulfed about 10 to 15 acres and was heading toward a creek to the east as it spread both to the south and north.
Firefighters, with the help of neighboring farmers, were able to contain the fire to the field. For a while, they were worried if it didn’t stop at the creek, it would enter a corn field farther east. Then the firefighters would have had no access to get vehicles and equipment into the area.
By about 5 p.m., firefighters were able to return to Akron.