BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) - It's happened again. More suspicious fires in Valencia County.
There have been at least six in the last month costing farmers in the area thousands of dollars.
Now fire officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for a possible arsonist.
For the farmers that have been victimized, these fires have really hurt their livelihood. And other incidents have investigators trying to figure out who's behind this.
Fire crews in Valencia County have been busy lately putting out blazing haystacks, many along State Road 314 south of Los Lunas.
“We are suspecting arson,” said Chief Steven Gonzales, of the Valencia County Fire Department. "We've taken some samples from some of the fires that we've had and actually sent them in and have come back positive for accelerants."
Valencia County firefighters are now going door-to-door warning people with haystacks to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.
Just recently a hay barn stacked with 560 bales went up in flames.
“A big haystack of bales and the fire engines, they had to destroy it to turn out the fire because they keep on smoking,” said Rudy Cordova, who lives next door to the victim.
Cordova’s neighbor's yard is burned. Nearly $3,000 worth of hay is destroyed.
“Hay has a tendency for spontaneous combustion," Gonzales said. "However. hay burns from the inside out, and all of the fires that we have responded to have been burnt from the outside in."
Another haystack fire sparked off Seabell Road ruined at least 66 one-ton bales of hay. And, last month, News 13 reported on the destruction at Toby's Doors where 2,000 bales of hay, along with 1,000 metal doors went up in flames.
Surveillance captured two figures on the property before that when someone set fire to a set of pallets.
The recent fires have sparked a huge loss for farmers since hay is such a high commodity, and it's too late into the season to recoup.
“It's pretty significant for a lot of the people in the Los Chavez area being that that's their main means of income,” Gonzales added.
Aside from hay fires, investigators have responded to a car fire, a potential house fire and someone placing boulders in the road near the fire station.
But were the boulders placed in the road to deter fire crews?
“We're not sure," Gonzales said. "There's a potential, but we're not sure.”
Investigators wouldn’t say what accelerants were identified during the investigation. They are concerned the problem isn't over.
Nonr of the recent hay fires reached the homes although some came close.
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