Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighter Brian McGovern sprays water on the perimeter of a fire that destroyed a barn and the hay inside it Thursday at the Daughenbaugh ranch on Routt County Road 44 along the Lower Elk River. The fire was caused by lightning.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighter Brian McGovern sprays water on the perimeter of a fire that destroyed a barn and the hay inside it Thursday at the Daughenbaugh ranch on Routt County Road 44 along the Lower Elk River. The fire was caused by lightning.

Fire destroys hay barn

Fire crews control blaze at ranch on Routt County Road 44

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— A hay barn in a meadow off Routt County Road 44 burned Thursday afternoon.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue crews responded at about 2 p.m. to the blaze that was caused after lightning struck the 25- by 40-foot open-walled barn on the Rocking C Bar Ranch owned by Doc and Marsha Daughenbaugh.

Mel Stewart, Emergency Medical Services battalion chief and interim acting fire chief, said Doc Daughenbaugh, after checking to see that the fire wasn't spreading, requested that crews not put out the flames to limit the mess.

"There's nothing there to be salvaged," Daughenbaugh said. He added that the bales of last year's hay would burn down to a "fine ash," making it easier for him to clean.

Daughenbaugh wasn't sure how much hay was destroyed and didn't know the dollar value loss.

Fire crews sprayed the perimeter of the fire with 500 gallons of water to prevent it from spreading. Stewart said he would return in the morning to check on the fire that he said "could smolder for several days," but he doubted the fire would move.

Daughenbaugh said Thursday's blaze was the second caused by lightning that claimed a stack of hay in the meadow. The first happened 15 years ago, he said.

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