Tinder dry conditions are putting the countryside at risk of devastating fires, warns NFU Mutual.
The leading rural insurer is concerned that the current heat wave could lead to grassland and arable crop fires, putting lives at risk and costing millions of pounds in damaged crops and machinery.
“Following a very dry spring, the current heatwave means that huge swathes of land across the whole of the UK is at risk of fire – putting lives of people and animals at risk as well as destroying valuable crops,” said Tim Price, NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist.
“With harvest due to start in a few weeks and the long summer school holidays on the horizon, we are making a plea to countryside dwellers and visitors to take extreme care to avoid starting a fire.”
“Matches and cigarette ends thrown down from cars are one of the major risks – but in the current conditions even a discarded bottle can concentrate the sun’s rays and start a fire.
NFU Mutual is urging farmers to make sure that fire extinguishers on combine harvesters are serviced before harvest start, and to make sure regular maintenance and cleaning to remove chaff is carried out.