Straw fires put lives in danger

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ARSONISTS who target straw stacks are not only putting themselves at risk but put added pressure on the community.

Sean Taylor, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s group manager for community safety, says those behind stack fires have “very little understanding” of the risks they face.

Last week, firefighters from Long Sutton faced 20 tonnes of burning bailed straw, which was deliberately set on fire in Marsh Road, Holbeach Hurn.

Mr Taylor said: “Often the stacks are very high, and burning straw can fall down on top of anyone underneath.

“Farmers and members of the public can be put in danger. They should not tackle a stack fire themselves, but always call 999.

“Drivers can also be at risk as smoke can billow across nearby roads, or by being distracted by the flames.”

Mr Taylor said the blazes can tie up fire engines for several hours, meaning they are not available to the local community.

He added: “There is also the added cost to taxpayers with each stack fire costing from £600 if two fire engines attend, to approximately £3,000.

“In addition the farmer is affected by redirecting staff and the obvious financial loss.

“Arson is a serious offence and deliberate fires are investigated jointly by Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue.”

Anyone caught starting fires will be prosecuted, Mr Taylor said.