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Farm fires warning after South Yorkshire summer blazes spike

Fire Engine on call

Fire Engine on call

  • by Stephanie Bateman
 

Fire officers are urging farmers to take steps to protect their livelihoods, after more than 30 farm blazes in less than three months.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has attended 33 fires since June, either on farm sites or involving crops in fields.

Many of those fires were started deliberately, with most farms’ isolated locations, open boundaries and easily ignitable materials like hay and straw making them particularly vulnerable to arson.

More than 1,600 farm buildings are lost to fire each year in the UK, costing farmers thousands of pounds in lost machinery, crops and livestock.

Arson reduction officer Andy Kirwan, said: “We get called to dozens of field and farm fires each year in South Yorkshire, with many of these fires occurring around harvesting time.

“Not only do fires like this put lives at risk by potentially diverting fire engines away from other, life threatening incidents, they also cost farmers thousands of pounds in damage.

“The maximum sentence for arson is life in prison. People do get caught and do get prosecuted, so we urge people to report arsonists to the police.”

To help prevent fires, farmers are being asked to:

Remove hay and straw as soon as possible after harvesting

Store fuels, fertilisers and pesticides securely - preferably under lock and key

Check unoccupied and remote areas of the farm to make sure they are safe and secure

Anyone with information about people starting fires in their area should call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

 

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