Aurora area farmer Jay Oswald: "It wasn't on fire when I left the field, and by the time I got there, it just, in about twenty seconds, it just completely engulfed the whole baler."
A failed baler bearing led to a smoldering rubber belt. That, in combination with tinder-dry conditions, led to an acre-and-a-half field fire that required firefighters to refill their water tanks.
Aurora Fire Department Assistant Chief Glenn Obermeier: "It took a little while because of it being so dry, but it ended it up with we had three pick-ups out here and it probably took all three of us to load at least twice in order to get it put out."
In a different year, rain might have headed off the fire before it occurred.
Glenn Obermeier: "Normally by this time of the year it's usually green enough that we don't have a problem, but, with the dry weather it is going to be a problem wherever you have grass."
Jay Oswald: "If it doesn't change, it's going to be a long irrigation year."
Jay Oswald grows alfalfa, but recent dry conditions have cut his yield.
Mr. Oswald says that with normal rainfall, the alfalfa in this field would normally be waist high, but this year it's only up to about six inches.
Jay Oswald: "Here we haven't had any rain for two weeks."
That lack of rain has led to arid conditions, and stunted, crackly crops that can easily catch fire, or, simply cost farmers more to irrigate, raising prices on down the line.
Jay Oswald: "Hay is going to be at a real premium this year."