As harvest time approaches, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is working alongside Humberside Police to protect farms and bring to book those responsible for these serious crimes.
The majority of field fires this year are believed to have been started deliberately, including the large wheat stack fire in Goxhill at the end of July.
Sarah Wilkinson, Head of Prevention at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, said:
“Sadly, these are not isolated incidents at this time of year. As wheat crops are harvested and stored, we urge farmers across the region take steps to ensure that straw is stored safety to reduce the risk of deliberate fires. The recent prolonged dry spell has only increased the risk of fire spreading significantly across farmland.”
Whilst arson attacks on farms and small holdings may be rare, they are difficult to eliminate. A number of simple precautions can substantially reduce the risk of attack:
• 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, stored away from other buildings, in stacks of reasonable size, spaced at least 10 metres apart
• Store away from livestock
• Store away from the road if possible so as not to be an easy target to anyone passing
• 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
If a fire does break out:
• Call the Fire and Rescue Service on 999 without delay
• If possible, send someone to the farm entrance to direct the Fire and Rescue Service to the fire to help save time
• Prepare to evacuate livestock should the fire spread
• Prepare to use farm machinery to assist the Fire and Rescue Service
Anyone with any information about these incidents or have seen or heard anything unusual in the area should call Humberside Police on the non-emergency 101 number.