Fears over field fires

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Beds Fire and Rescue has warned of the dangers of field fires after three incidents at the weekend.

At 5.45pm on Friday firefighters were called to a field fire in Whitehaven, Luton. Eight hectares of a standing crop were alight and two fire engines from Luton Community Fire Station attended supported by the multi-role vehicle from Shefford, and rural water carriers from Toddington and Biggleswade. Firefighters used high pressure lances, backpack sprayers and beaters to contain and extinguish the fire which was out by 6.30pm.

At 1.32am on Saturday firefighters were called to another field fire in Barton Road, Streatley where six hectares of standing crop and 600mts of environmental hedgerow were involved in a fire. Two fire engines from Luton attended supported further fire engines from Stopsley, Toddington, Dunstable and Hitchin as well as the water carrier from Kempston and the Harrold multi-role vehicle. During the incident a combine harvester overheated and was cooled down using a fire hose.

At 11pm on Saturday firefighters were called to another rural fire after 70 tonnes of baled straw caught fire in Mill Road, Eggington. The farmer used a mechanical digger to spread out the burning material while firefighters used hoses to keep the machine cool and to extinguish the burning straw.

Every year, fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats. Some fires are started deliberately, but most are due to carelessness. Follow these tips to reduce the chance of a wildfire in the countryside:

>Extinguish cigarettes properly and don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground.

>Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.

>Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires.

>Take your litter home.

>Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended.

>Avoid using open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe designated areas.

>f you see a fire in the countryside, report it to the fire and rescue service immediately.

>Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.

>If you can, prepare for the arrival of the fire and rescue service at the pre-arranged meeting point, by unlocking gates, etc.