Farmer thanks neighbours for help in containing West Bilney combine harvester fire

The fire at West Bilney near the A47. Picture: Karla George and Mark Sutton

The fire at West Bilney near the A47. Picture: Karla George and Mark Sutton - Credit: Archant

A farmer has today thanked neighbours for helping to contain a fire that started in a combine harvester on a field next to the A47, and damaged 50 hectares of land.

The fire at West Bilney near the A47. Picture: Chris Brown

The fire at West Bilney near the A47. Picture: Chris Brown - Credit: Archant

The blaze in West Bilney, near King's Lynn, which started at about 4pm on Sunday, was tackled by 10 fire crews and a water carrier.

Farm workers joined forces with 45 firefighters to dig fire breaks to stop the blaze spreading. No-one was injured.

Arable farmer Richard Eyre said: 'It could have been a lot worse. The smoke could have spread across the A47.

'Luckily, it was contained within our boundaries. We did not lose a tree or a bush. The combine harvester caught fire and set the field alight. 'It was like an inferno. I thought the woods were on fire when I saw it.

Aftermath of West Bilney fire: Picture David Bale

Aftermath of West Bilney fire: Picture David Bale - Credit: Archant


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'We don't know why it caught fire, maybe some chaff got caught in the exhaust.

'I would like to thank Toby and Hamish Wales, farming brothers from Marham, who used a cultivator to put fire breaks around it to stop it spreading. The fire service was also very good and stayed until late on Sunday.'

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He said 50 acres of land was affected, and added: 'Thirty acres of standing crop, barley, and 20 acres of straw that had already been cut. The combine harvester is worth about £50-60,000. We are insured for the lost crop.'

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said it was scary. 'It was getting very close to us,' she said.

It took about one hour to put out the fire.

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