Firefighters have urged farmers to think about fire safety following a call out to a field fire in Essex last night (Monday, July 17).

Crews from Essex Fire and Rescue Service were called to Ludgores Lane in Danbury at around 9:20p.m last night after a combine harvester caught fire.

When the crews arrived, the fire has spread to approximately 10ac of crops. Crews from Chelmsford (two), Maldon (two), Rayleigh Weir and Witham, and off-road vehicles from Billericay and Burnham helped tackle the fire.

Group manager Craig McLellan said: “Crews did a fantastic job of surrounding the fire so quickly and stopping it from spreading.

“The fire affected about 10ac of crops so they had to work incredibly hard to extinguish it. I’d like to thank the farmer for assistance too.

“Due to the rural location, crews have set up a water relay to extinguish the fire affecting the combine harvester.” 

It is believed that the cause of the fire was accidental.

Fire safety

Following last night’s incident Essex Fire and Rescue Service have urged farmers to think about fire safety, during harvest season in particular, “to reduce the risk of devastating and dangerous fires”.

It has said that farm machinery is one of the top causes of rural/farm fires.

To reduce the risk of a fire it advised farmers to keep machinery and vehicles well maintained and serviced regularly, and to clean machinery regularly to keep it free from hay, straw, oil and grease.

This messages comes at an apt time as the 11th annual Farm Safety Week is underway – the theme of which is ‘Farm Safety Starts with Me’.

A drive-home message of this theme is for farmers to take the time to review the safety measures on their farm.

Echoing this message, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is this week running a campaign encouraging farmers to “take five to stay alive”.

The idea behind this message is that taking five minutes before a tasks allows time to evaluate the task at hand and implement ways to make the task safer.