Nearly two dozen dairy calves were saved from a fiery death in Cornish on Sunday afternoon but 350 tons of hay that caught fire continued to burn into Monday evening.

According to Lewiston Fire Chief Jake Johnson, a local farmer had two hay barns on the south end of Cornish.

Johnson said the hay under one of the structures was baled wet and started on fire by spontaneous combustion, with flames stirred up by warm winds in the area.

By the time the farmer was able to remove the calves from their individual hutches beneath the structure, the wind had pushed flames over onto the other stack and both were fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on scene.

Johnson said there was little to do but protect nearby structures and let the hay burn, a process that can take several days, he said.

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Amy Macavinta is the crime reporter for The Herald Journal. She can be reached at amacavinta@hjnews.com.