Service joins forces with Police colleagues as part of crackdown on rural fires

27/04/2017

​Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service's Prevention Team will be out and about today (Thursday 27 April) as part of a two-day crackdown on rural fires.

The team, in conjunction with officers from Nottinghamshire Police, will be visiting farms in the Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood and North Gedling areas to offer a range of advice on things such as security measures and the placement of stacks.

The Service's Education Team will also be visiting local schools as part of the operation, to educate youngsters on the potential dangers of setting fires deliberately.

This comes off the back of a number of deliberate fires that were set on and around Nottinghamshire farms last summer – tying up a significant number of Service resources.

"A serious fire can significantly affect the financial stability of even the most well run farms," said NFRS Watch Manager Graham Picker, who has worked closely with Police colleagues to co-ordinate the day.

"It's a sad fact that around 40 per cent of businesses, such as farms, that suffer at the hands of arsonists never successfully trade again – and this is why we are running this initiative.

"We're also doing this work because out of the 76 agricultural fires that the Service attended last year, 31 of them were started deliberately. A lot of these took place during the warmer months and each unnecessarily took up resources and put people in danger.

"Operation Bifocal aims to reduce this number by giving local farmers some useful advice that will hopefully help protect their businesses, keep people safe, and keep our appliances available for more serious and life-threatening incidents."

Some of the tips being given to farmers tomorrow and Friday (28 April) are for them to try and separate hay stacks and keep them away from roads and outbuildings, to ensure fuel is stored in secured areas and to ensure refuse is disposed of safely and regularly.

Ensuring farm machinery is regularly serviced and in good condition is also recommended, as is maintaining open water supplies should a fire occur.

As part of the operation, the team will also be emphasising that it's not just deliberate fires that can start agricultural fires and destroy businesses – it's also accidental fires caused by carelessness.

"Innocently throwing a cigarette, which is still partially lit, from a car window can potentially set a fire that destroys a whole field of standing crops," added Graham.

"We therefore really urge people to try and ensure they are being considerate when out and about, and this also includes not leaving things such as glass bottles lying around – as these can potentially intensify the sun's rays and start fires."

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