A SIGNIFICANT rise in the number of farm fires has lead to urgent advice given to farmers.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are giving out advice after the added heat has seen the crews attend more fires involving crops, grass and stubble.

With the grass so dry, fires can spread more rapidly and destroy large areas of farmland and crops.

Station manager at Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Graham Kewley said: "Dorset and Wiltshire are significantly rural counties and rely on agriculture and associated businesses as a major part of the economy.

"Fires pose a threat to the livelihoods of many in the rural sector be that through loss of crops, machinery, buildings or livestock.

"Coupled with that the significant resources, effort and water supplies required to deal with field fires, any work to prevent fires is beneficial to the whole community."

The fire and rescue service have issued a number of measures to try and prevent a fire from becoming serious.

They advise farmers to always stop to investigate hot-running bearings and engines.

Ensure you have maintained fire extinguishers for every vehicle during harvest.

When windy, harvest in an upwards direction, this would ensure that if a fire was to occur, it is not driven by the wind through crops.

If a fire does break out, make sure to call the fire service immediately with the exact location and best access route.

If safe to do so, plough or rake around the fire to create a fire break, this will slow the progress and spread of the fire

And keep a full water bowser or tank nearby.

Graham Kewley added: "Following these simple guidelines can help to reduce the impact of fires on those living and working in rural areas.

"An early 999 call is vital as many farmers seem to try to put it out themselves for too long before calling for help.

"Farmers are not charged for our attendance."

For more information on farm fire safety, go to bit.ly/2OV5v1K or call 01722 691717 and ask to speak to the Fire Safety Team.