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Farmer praises fire crews following hay field blaze near forest

PUBLISHED: 16:52 07 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 07 August 2018

Fire crews attended a field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Fire crews attended a field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

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A farmer has praised the quick response of the fire service from stopping a blaze in a field from having more devastating consequences.

Fire crews attended a field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca MurphyFire crews attended a field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Andrew Rought and a colleague had been cutting hay in a field in Lingheath Road, off Green Road, Brandon, when the incident happened this afternoon (Tuesday).

Firefighters attended a hay field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca MurphyFirefighters attended a hay field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

The 35-year-old believes the mower conditioner may have hit a flint which caused a spark and started the fire.

Luckily, they had been taking precautions and were carrying around a water supply due to the current conditions.

Firefighters attended a hay field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca MurphyFirefighters attended a hay field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

After following the mower Mr Rought said he was looking around when he saw the flame.

Firefighters attended a hay field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca MurphyFirefighters attended a hay field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

“I looked back and there was this tiny flame,” he said. “We chucked water on it but it was apparent that it was away so we rang 999. The adrenaline was something else and then it just went into panic.

“After, we tried to extinguish it with fire extinguishers. Thank God that no sooner than that, we heard the sirens.”

Crews from Suffolk and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Services attended a hay field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca MurphyCrews from Suffolk and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Services attended a hay field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Firefighters attended a hay field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca MurphyFirefighters attended a hay field fire in Brandon. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Mr Rought said it is not unheard of for there to be a small spark when cutting the hay but usually a little bit of water is all that is needed.

He expressed his gratitude to the fire service and said they prevented the fire from spreading to a nearby forestry area.

In total five crews and a misting unit, from both Suffolk and Norfolk, attended the incident and were on scene for more than two hours.

“I cannot praise their fast response or efforts enough,” said the farmer. “We have lost some trees which is not ideal for the habitat but it is only a small area of the wood, and half an acre at most of hay got destroyed. It could have been worse.”

Jack Sheward, acting crew commander based at Brandon Fire Station, said of the fire crews’ efforts: “The boys have done an absolutely superb job and got it under control within five to ten minutes of us arriving.

“Then we just waited for extra resources to help.

“Flames had started to go up a tree and we knew we needed to get some water in the tree line. It was heading towards the forest.”

A retained firefighter, he said crews from both services had been putting in a lot of hours.

The Brandon Crew recently attended an incident in Hockwold, were then sent to Downham Market and then on to the Lincolnshire border.

“We have had a few busy weeks and it has been horrendous,” he said. “Work has been affected but the employers have been good.”

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