Great bales afire: Load burns near Emmetsburg

EMMETSBURG – A flaming load of cornstalk bales closed a road east of Emmetsburg for about three and a half hours Friday morning.

Jeffrey Berkland, of Okoboji, was driving a semitractor pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with the round bales when he noticed they were burning. The incident happened on 380th Street in Palo Alto County near its intersection with 510th Avenue, the Palo Alto County sheriff’s office reported.

Berkland was able to pull to the side of the road, but by that time the bales were fully engulfed in flames, the report said.

The Emmetsburg and Cylinder fire departments pumped water onto the burning bales after they were off-loaded into the roadside ditch. Thick smoke and the ensuing road cleanup interrupted traffic.

The Palo Alto County Ambulance Service, the Iowa State Patrol and Iowa Department of Transportation also assisted at the scene.