VAN HORNE – The Van Horne and Newhall Fire Departments were called Tuesday night last week to a fire at the Kenneth Bidwell farm on the southeast side of Van Horne. More than 40 round hay bales were on fire and firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze before it could spread to nearby buildings and farm fields. Investigators determined that the fire had been set intentionally. Deputy John Lindaman of the Benton County Sheriff’s Department says this is the third instance of suspicious fires in the area over the past year and is asking area residents to keep an eye for suspicious activity.
Benton County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Lynch, who investigated the incident, said, “The first fire was only a couple of bales, but the last two were bigger, 40 or 50 bales.” He added, “I didn’t think they were connected, but since the fires were all within a two-mile radius, it could be the same person doing it.”
The Bidwell farm fire and the previous incidents have occurred on the feedlots of larger cattle farms. A public notice issued by the sheriff’s department noted that fires such as these can become extremely dangerous at this time of year given the warm, dry conditions. Anyone who has information about suspicious activity related to these fires is asked to contact the Benton County Sheriff’s Department.