Police in Northamptonshire are treating two farm blazes as arson after a whole winter’s supply of straw and hay was incinerated in less than 24 hours.
A large barn containing straw was set on fire at about 3.40am on Sunday 27 September. Farndon Road was closed while fire crews dealt with the incident.
The second fire happened at about 5.30pm on Sunday night and involved a large quantity of bales deliberately set on fire at a farm in Orlingbury Road, Northamptonshire Police said.
Farmers Weekly understands about 3,000 bales were torched in the barn fire and 1,200 bales were lost in the stack fire, which was all straw, bar 100 hay bales.
NFU county adviser Harriet Ranson warned stack fires were becoming a regular occurrence across the East Midlands.
She urged farmers to lock gates, install CCTV and report all suspicious behaviour to the police.
Stack 🔥 are becoming a regular occurrence across the @NFUEastMidlands. Please get bales in to yards and buildings where at all possible, lock gates and install cctv. Report ANY suspicious behaviour to the police immediately, all info helps them to build a picture. https://t.co/GbpOzV8VIi
— NFU county adviser in LNR (@NFULNR) September 28, 2020
How to reduce farm fire risk
- Remove hay and straw from fields as soon as possible after harvesting.
- Store bales separate from buildings, machinery and chemicals.
- Make stacks a reasonable size and space them at least 10m apart.
- Keep petrol, diesel and other fuels (including gas cylinders) stored in secure areas.
- Keep fertilisers and pesticides under lock and key.
- Dispose of refuse safely on a regular basis.
- Ensure fences and gates are in good condition and check them regularly.
- Install intruder sensors and security lighting.
- Prepare a fire routine and action plan and make sure all farmworkers know what to do.
- If a fire breaks out, call the fire and rescue service without delay.