East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has attended two fires at farms, prompting a call for farmers and landowners to double check their fire safety measures.
The first incident was at 15.17 on 5 September 2019 when we were called to a property on Redlands Lane in Robertsbridge. It was following reports of a fire in an outbuilding. When crews arrived, a single story building used to dry hops was alight. They used breathing apparatus, hose reels and a hydrant. Four fire engines attended. The incident is now over.
The second incident was at 15.42 when we were called to Sandhill Lane nears Boarshead, outside of Crowborough. The fire involves 150 tonnes of hay in a barn,
Four fire engines were at the scene at the start of the incident but as of 19.30 this had been scaled back to two fire engines.
Firefighters are carrying 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. 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.
If you see a fire in the countryside, please dial 999 and be ready to tell us your location so we can get to you quickly.
Fire safety hints for farms
• 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?