As the sun rose over the Ukiah Valley’s eastern hills this morning, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority responded to a stack of burning hay bales located in the field north of Kohl’s near the intersection of South Orchard Avenue and Ford Street.
This reporter was in the vicinity and sought the location after smelling smoke. On scene was UVFA Captain Skip Williams and several other firefighters mopping up the fire.
Captain Williams told us that the hay bales were intentionally set on fire. He said that the hay bales had sat in the field for 3-4 weeks before an unknown person ignited them.
We initially asked if the fire could be a product of spontaneous combustion sometimes observed in the hay, which he said was not the case.
We have reached out to UVFA’s Battalion Chiefs to inquire about the investigation going forward and have yet to hear back as of the time of publication. We will update the article when that information becomes available.
UPDATE 10:39 a.m.: Ukiah Valley Fire Authority Battalion Chief Eric Singleton told us investigators have fanned out to ask nearby businesses are residents whether they witnessed anything regarding the fire. He asked that if any members of the public have information about the fire please reach out to his agency at (707) 462-7921.