THOUSANDS of dollars in machinery and stock feed was destroyed during an early morning fire on a rural property north-west of Dubbo.
Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) crews from Warren, along with NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighters, were called to a property on the Oxley Highway on the outskirts of Warren at 4.50am on Wednesday following reports of a large blaze.
FRNSW Deputy Captain Angela Muir was among the crew who was first on scene at the mixed farming property.
"When we were driving up we thought it didn't look too bad because there were silos in front of us," she said.
"But then we saw the hay was well alight and there was a lot of heat coming off it."
Dept Cpt Muir said hay fires were notoriously difficult to fight.
MAP: The location of the early morning hay shed fire
"With hay there's not a lot you can do with that, you've just got to protect the surrounds," she said.
A major concern for firefighters during the blaze was that silos were located just metres away from the hay shed and they were being impacted by the fire and heat.
"They were only about two or three car lengths away from the hay shed so we just had to keep them cool [so they didn't catch fire]," she said.
"You could see the steam coming off them."
The property owners were on scene at the time and Dept Cpt Muir said they reported that they had came across the fire by chance during early morning rounds of their property.
"The property owners only discovered it was alight [the hay shed] because they were doing a water change," she said.
The owners also reported that they had recently restocked the shed full of hay.
"There was a massive amount of hay lost," Dept Cpt Muir said.
"They were just watching their money go up in flames."
There was a massive amount of hay lost. They were just watching their money go up in flames.Fire and Rescue NSW Warren Deputy Captain Angela Muir
Dept Cpt Muir said the property had been having a very difficult time recently due to the long-running drought and animal right activists protesting across the country.
"They [the owners] were just thinking 'what else can happen?'," she said.
Dept Cpt Muir said the hay would smoulder for quite some time and RFS crews would remain on site.
"It'll hold its heat and just smoulder for days one end," she said.
No cause of the fire has been established at this stage.