The cause of a fire that destroyed thousands of dollars worth of hay and part of the shed it was stored in at the Circle Creek Equestrian Centre near Knutsford may never be determined.
Kamloops Fire and Rescue Lieut. Dan Funk said Thursday he has looked into two possibilities: a spark from a utility Gator or spontaneous combustion within the hay itself.
However, he had not yet found any evidence that could conclusively determine either one as the cause.
Funk said he sought information from the Internet about spontaneous combustion to find out how it can affect hay. He said if there’s moisture within the hay or a leak of water from the shed roof, it can start to decompose and create heat.
Ranch owner Colleen Meyer said she spoke with three mechanics who had never seen sparks from the Gator, which has a spark arrester.
She also didn’t believe the hay would have burst into spontaneous combustion, as it has been in the shed for a long time.
“It doesn’t ferment for six months and then all of a sudden combust. That’s unlikely,” she said. “It’s dry, quality hay and it would make no sense for it to be spontaneous combustion.”
Funk said he might not be able to come to a definite cause for the fire, which also destroyed irrigation equipment, horse jumps and a trailer.
Meyer said she has been heartened by the response she’s had from strangers.
“I’ve gotten tons of emails from people saying, ‘Can we help?’” she said.
At this point, her hay supplier will get her through the winter. Come spring, she’s hoping to hold a barn raising or something to replace the hay shed.