Farm workers praised for efforts to tackle field blaze sparked by combine fire

Farm workers have been praised for their efforts in preventing a combine fire from spreading to further fields.

The fire at the field in Hodnet. Picture: Market Drayton Fire Station
The fire at the field in Hodnet. Picture: Market Drayton Fire Station

Fire crews and farm workers spent hours tackling the blaze, in a wheat field at Green Lane in Hodnet, on Sunday.

The fire at the field in Hodnet. Picture: Market Drayton Fire Station

The fire, sparked by a combine harvester, was the latest involving an agricultural vehicle, with a series of blazes caused by a prolonged heatwave, and extremely dry conditions.

Market Drayton Fire Service has confirmed details of the latest incident, which happened at around 1.30pm.

They have praised farm workers at the scene for their efforts in creating fire breaks to prevent the blaze spreading to neighbouring fields.

The fire could be seen from several miles away, with a huge plume of black smoke rising from the burning vehicle.

Farm workers had used ploughs and vacuum tanks filled with water to tackle the blaze – having sensibly put equipment aside ready to deal with any fire that started.

Fire crews from Market Drayton, Hodnet, Prees and Tweedale, attended, along with incident support units (ISU) from Whitchurch and Minsterley.

The fire at the field in Hodnet. Picture: Market Drayton Fire Station

The fire service also drafted in a special 27,000 litre tanker to provide extra water to deal with the fire.

A statement from the fire service said: "On arriving at the scene the crews were confronted by a rapidly spreading fire, which involved a combine harvester which was fully involved in fire, a large amount of hedgerow, approximately three hectares of stubble field and an area of woodland."

It added: "Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were immediately tasked to start extinguishing the combine harvester using one hand held 45mm main jet.

"The farmer and farm hands did a fantastic job of creating fire breaks around the rapidly spreading fire, utilising ploughs and vacuum tanks filled with water, which they had put in place in preparedness in case of any fire due to the extremely dry and hot temperatures.

"The ISUs from Market Drayton and Hodnet were tasked to prevent the fire spreading any further into the area of woodland than it already had. The crews used two high pressure lances to extinguish deep seated pockets of fire."

The fire at the field in Hodnet. Picture: Market Drayton Fire Station

The statement explained how extra resources were drafted in to avoid the situation becoming even worse.

It added: "Due to the large quantities of water that would be required for firefighting and damping down, a large 27,000 litre tanker was requested to attend the scene, this tanker is provided by a contractor who has made it available or use by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service during this extremely dry period.

"The water carrier from Bridgnorth was mobilised to the incident to provide inflatable dams which would be used in conjunction with the bulk tanker.

"Through the hard work of firefighters and farmers, who all worked in arduous and challenging conditions, the fire was brought under control after approximately an hour of the first appliances arrival.

"Crews remained at the scene for approximately a further two hours, damping down the combine harvester and small hotspots in the woodland and hedgerows.

"In total four breathing apparatus, one 45mm main jet, two hose reel jets and two high pressure lances were used by crews to fully extinguish the fire.

"We are pleased to report that there were no casualties at this incident.

"The cause of the fire has been determined to be accidental, through a defect on the combine harvester which has sadly been destroyed by fire.

"We would like to say a big thank you to the farmer and all the farm hands, who did a fantastic job of creating fire breaks, and for providing vacuum tanks ready to dispense water, also to the very kind ladies who provided cold drinks to the crews, it was very much appreciated."

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