Phew, what a scorcher

A DISCARDED cigarette could have caused a fire that scorched 31 acres of farmland. More than 40 firefighters and seven fire engines were called to the blaze at Offord Hill Farm, Offord Hill Road, Godmanchester, at 1pm on Friday. Crews prevented the fire

A DISCARDED cigarette could have caused a fire that scorched 31 acres of farmland.

More than 40 firefighters and seven fire engines were called to the blaze at Offord Hill Farm, Offord Hill Road, Godmanchester, at 1pm on Friday.

Crews prevented the fire from spreading to a railway line and had the fire extinguished by 3pm.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "The fire started on the verge at the side of the road and spread quickly because the ground was so dry.


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"We believe the fire could have been started by a discarded cigarette thrown out of the window of a passing car."

The field had already been harvested and the straw was waiting to be bailed.

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David Carr, whose family have owned the land since 1952, said: "I was working on another field about seven miles away when I was notified about the fire. It wasn't a particularly nice sight seeing my field on fire but I wasn't shocked because of the dry weather we've been having.

"Only the other day I saw six other fields on fire. When the weather is this hot there is not much you can do to protect your land - if it catches fire you just have to watch."

The fire service is urging people to be extra vigilant to help prevent fires starting.

Wendy Coleman, community fire safety advisor, said: "A fire in the countryside can cause many thousands of pounds of damage, destroy natural habitats and kill wild animals and birds.

"Many countryside fires are caused by people being careless, or by people, particularly young people, deliberately starting fires.

"We are urging people to do all they can to prevent grass and field fires by being careful when disposing of cigarette ends and glass bottles, and being cautious when having a barbecue or bonfire.

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