South Yorkshire blaze destroys large field of wheat

Firefighters and police are investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a large field of wheat.

Six fire crews were called to tackle the blaze which broke out on a 2ha field in Carlton, Barnsley, South Yorkshire on Friday night (11 August).

The fire began at around 6pm in a field of harvested winter barley but the flames quickly spread to a neighbouring field of wheat, engulfing around 50 straw bales.

A farm vehicle was used to help disperse the bales and firefighters remained at the site until 10am on Saturday (11 August) to dampen the smouldering straw.

Farmer Cecil Gill had recently harvested and baled the field where the fire started.

Mr Gill had sold the straw in advance to a general haulage company.

“Two thirds of the field was burnt as well as around half of my neighbour’s 20ha field of standing wheat,” he said.

Fortunately, Mr Gill is insured for fire damage to the crop. He did not believe he had been deliberately targeted although police officers have told him they are investigating reports of two youths seen fleeing the scene shortly after the fire began.

Scenes on the farm were similar to those caused by a blaze in Saxlingham, Norfolk (pictured), in August 2008, which was ignited by a spark from a combine harvester and burned 14ha of uncropped wheat.

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