Humberside Fire and Rescue Service have been called to a significant number of crop fires recently. Most are believed to have been started deliberately, but poor maintenance of combine harvesters and recent high temperatures are also contributing to accidental mechanical fires on the region's farms.
Humberside crews have been called to around half a dozen combine fires in August this year alone. Winterton, Holme on Spalding Moor, Rawcliffe Bridge have all seen call-outs and last night four engines attended an incident in Hornsea in which a combine fire spread to 20 acres of standing corn.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) have seen fit to issue advice on their website urging farmers to rigorously keep up cleaning and maintenance schedules to reduce the risk of combine fires as they bring in the harvest this year. The full story can be read by clicking here.
The following are the key points which all farmers should consider as part of their risk assessment:
- Ensure the site where bales are stored is as secure as possible.
- Hay and straw should be removed from fields as soon as possible after harvesting.
- Store in stacks of reasonable size and spaced at least 20 metres apart to avoid fire spread.
- Store away from livestock and other buildings.
- Petrol, diesel and other fuels should be stored in secure areas; storage tank outlets should be padlocked.
- Fertilisers and pesticides should be kept under lock and key.
- Rubbish should be disposed of safely and on a regular basis.
- Electrical safety checks should be carried out and firefighting equipment should be checked frequently.
- Prepare a fire routine and action plan to ensure all farm workers know what to do in the event of a fire.
- Ensure cigarettes are fully extinguished in an appropriate container.
- Where possible, regularly check and maintain open water supplies for firefighting.