Advice issued after farm fires in Robertsbridge and Crowborough

Fire safety advice has been issued to farmers in East Sussex after crews were called out to two incidents yesterday.

Friday, 6th September 2019, 9:15 am
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The first incident was at 3.17pm when crews responded to reports of a fire in an outbuilding on Redlands Lane, Robertsbridge.

On arrival, firefighters found a single story building used to dry hops was alight, a spokesman confirmed.

Four fire engines used breathing apparatus, hose reels and a hydrant tp extinguish the blaze.

The second incident was at 3.42pm when crews were called to fire involving 150 tonnes of hay in a barn in Sandhill Lane nears Boarshead, outside of Crowborough.

Four fire engines were at the scene at the start of the incident but as of 7.30 this had been scaled back to two fire engines.

The spokesman said: "Firefighters carried out what is called a 'controlled burn' allowing the hay to burn out on its own.

"The decision to do this was taken in consultation with the Environment Agency.

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"This is because using a lot of water at an incident can increase smoke and affect nearby water courses."

One member of the public reported having minor burns.

Following the incidents, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has called for farmers and landowners to double check their fire safety measures.

They have issued the following advice to farmers:

• Hay and straw should be removed from the field as soon as possible after harvesting.

• Are you storing it separately from other buildings, particularly those housing fuels, agrochemicals and machinery? Is in stacks of reasonable size, spaced at least ten metres apart? It is stored separately from livestock housing?

• Have you ensured that petrol, diesel and other fuels are stored in secure areas and storage tank outlets are padlocked?

• Are you keeping your fertilisers and pesticides under lock and key?

• Have you recently checked that open water supplies are being properly maintained for firefighting?

• Are you disposing of refuse safely and on a regular basis?

• When did you last check unoccupied areas on your farm? Are they safe and secure? Have you made sure there is no unnecessary accumulation of combustible materials?

• If you allow visitors or camping on your farm, ensure all barbecues are properly supervised and do not allow the lighting of open fires on the property. Make sure you only allow camping and picnicking in selected areas.

• Have you checked that Fire Danger warning signs are in place?