A Monday morning fire of an undetermined origin consumed five cotton modules and damaged a sixth belonging to Kent and Corlis Goyen.
The fire was in a cotton field a mile and a half south of Cairo on SE 100th avenue. A cotton harvest crew was working the field when the fire broke out.
The cotton modules were on the east side of the field and they were sitting with several yards between each module.
The module on the north side of the group caught fire. It could have been static electricity or spontaneous combustion but exactly why it caught fire is unknown, said co-owner Kent Goyen.
Several cotton modules, each weighing about 20,000 pounds and looking like giant loaves of bread with a plastic cover on top, were lined up in such a way that the wind-blown fire jumped from module to module until five were on fire.
The stiff breeze pushed the thick cloud of smoke across SE 110th Avenue reducing visibility to zero at times and causing a driving hazard.
A sixth module that was smoldering was moved to the middle of the field and firefighters were able to extinguish that fire.
Firefighters from Township 12 and Preston, with the assistance of a water tanker from Cunningham, tried to put the fires out but once cotton is on fire it will just continue to burn and there is little firefighters can do but stand by and prevent the fire from spreading.
A module mover from the High Plains Cotton Gin arrived on the scene and was able to move several modules out of the path of the fire. At times the smoke was so thick the module driver was briefly working in zero visibility.
None of the harvest equipment was damaged in the incident and no firefighters were injured.
A cotton module will make about 12 bales of cotton.