A large field of spring barley on Fyfield Down, above the valley of the Sarsens caught light late this afternoon (Monday 08 August)
Fire appliances from all neighbouring centres rushed to assist and try to manage the blaze but access to the field, sited some distance from the nearest road in the middle of the Downs, made that difficult.
Smoke was visible from miles around from the (estimated) twenty seven acre field which hadn’t yet been harvested.
The scene was reminiscent of stubble burning from decades ago which was widespread across this area (effectively banned in 1993) but when that was carried out the crops had been harvested and it was a way of removing the remains of the crops whilst reducing weeds, making it easier for the next crop. Nowadays with the advent of climate change such practices are consigned to history, but ironically the change in weather patterns make such fires far more likely than before, albeit to unharvested crops as we see on Fyfield Down today.
Farmers Gill, Robin and Suzie Swanton told marlborough.news:
All of us at North Farm would like to express our very sincere thanks to all our neighbours, friends and colleagues who were such a help in fighting the field fire which took a fair chunk out of our spring barley crop on 8th August 2022.
That more did not get devastated was due then and to the tremendous response of the Wiltshire & Dorset Fire and Rescue teams – I lost count of the number of units and back up vehicles which attended. We can only praise their promptness, diligence and professionalism. Not all of the units had ‘identifiers’ painted on them but I know of some: Marlborough, Ramsbury, Calne, Stratton St Margaret, Royal Wootton Bassett, Ludgershall…….and on.
Only two people suffered some smoke inhalation and were treated by fire crew and NHS staff – our thanks to them too.
Fortunately the fire was controlled before it could get anywhere near any buildings and we only had to move one batch of animals.