BERTHOUD, Colo. (CBS4) – Faulty farming equipment is being eyed as the cause of a brush fire in Berthoud.

Fast moving flames got dangerously close to homes and an oil and gas development on Wednesday evening. The fire charred about 50 acres.

Crews struggled to knock the fire down, even after it was contained. They say the recent warmer weather dried out the ground and erratic winds made it hard to put out the flames.

“The fuels, even though we’ve had a lot of rain this summer, it doesn’t take long. Just a few warm days like we’ve had has dried it out,” Berthoud Fire Protection District spokesman Lt. Lyle Fenderson said.

A farmer used his own equipment to help battle the fire. He cut a fire line to help build containment.

Bill Markham, another farmer in the area, said he watched the fire as it burned on rural land he says belongs to his son-in-law.

“I was out setting water and I saw the flame and — Bruce is my son-in-law — I called up and said ‘You’ve got a fire’ and he said ‘No I don’t’ because he was on the other side of the hill,” he said.

Authorities said they suspect the fire started when a bearing in a hay baler malfunctioned.

If conditions had been slightly different, homes and property could have been in the fire’s crosshairs.

“We’re very, very fortunate because there’s a dairy over there. This could have been devastating if it had went west,” Markham said. “It probably burned about 45 acres here, and it could have burned 500 acres easy.”

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