It has been an expensive Thanksgiving period for local farmers working hard to harvest their cotton crop.
    About $1.3 million worth of cotton stripping equipment was destroyed in two separate fires this past Thursday – Thanksgiving Day – and Friday.
    Both fires involved expensive John Deere CS690 cotton strippers with on-board systems that produce round, wrapped modules.
    The most recent blaze occurred just after 3 p.m. Friday about six miles northwest of Lamesa, near the intersections of County Road 13 and County Road G.
    Brad Cude, owner of the stripper, said it was one of two being used at the location to harvest cotton in a dryland corner of a field irrigated with a center-pivot system.
    When the fire was discovered in the back of the stripper, the cotton inside the machine was dumped and farm workers tried, without success, to douse the blaze with fire extinguishers and small water sprayers, Cude said.
    Lamesa firefighters reported seeing dark smoke rising from the scene when they left the city. Flames were engulfing the rear portion of the stripper when they arrived.
    With both a pumper truck and tanker at the scene, firefighters used a combination of water and foam to douse the blaze.


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