SW farmers hit by apparent arson hay fires

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — More than a half-dozen hay fires in two weeks have farmers in two southwest Missouri counties on edge.

The Greene County Sheriff’s office says the fires have been reported in southwest Greene and northern Christian counties.

Lt. Kenny Weatherford said it’s too early to determine if the fires are arson. A detective is investigating several leads.

But Brookline fire district Chief Larry McConnell says he’s sure the fires are arson. He lost 157 bales of hay to one of the fires and said the evidence suggested arson.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that although hay or straw bales can spontaneously combust, McConnell said that generally occurs when hay is too green or wet when it is processed. The area has been hot and dry for weeks.

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