Fire service sees huge fall in number of calls to field blazes

The number of field fires in Suffolk dropped in the past year Picture: STEVE HAYWARD

The number of field fires in Suffolk dropped in the past year Picture: STEVE HAYWARD - Credit: Archant

The number of field fires around Suffolk has dropped massively in the last year, but concerns remain about some of the areas most frequently hit.

Data obtained through a freedom of information request showed that Suffolk Fire and Rescue was called to 63 field fires between January and December 2018.

Between January 1 and November 1 this year that number was just 12.

Only four of these took place between the start of June and the start of August.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue said the much cooler summer months helped to keep the number of field fires low.

Area commander Dave Collins from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: "This summer did not see the prolonged period of hot, dry conditions of the previous year.

"In 2018 such conditions made crops, grass, trees and undergrowth particularly vulnerable to fire, which saw us attend a higher number of fires in the open."

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In 2018 temperatures topped 36C in Suffolk with prolonged hot spells lasting for weeks through the summer.

Although temperatures rose well above 30C this year this wasn't sustained for such a long period.

Nevertheless there were still large field fires in the county over the summer.

One of the largest of these fires which was a standing crop fire in the Hall Road area of Foxhall on July 17.

In total, 19 crews attended the blaze which was eventually deemed to be deliberate.

Just six days later fire crews had been called to three others in the county including a baled crop fire in Hartest, a standing crop fire in Corton and a straw and stubble fire in Corton.

All four fires coincided with some of the hottest temperatures recorded in the county over the summer.

Despite the large reduction in field fires this year Mr Collins said the service would be doing all it could to raise public awareness of the risks that could lead to such fires.

"We will continue to encourage everyone to think about what can cause such fires during the summer months: hot vehicle exhausts, barbecues, discarded cigarette ends and glass," said Mr Collins.

"If you see a fire at any time of year, call 999 immediately."

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