Discarded cigarette to blame for huge field fire near Lincoln

A large fire which tore through 40 hectares of stubble in a field near Lincoln was caused by a carelessly discarded cigarette, firefighters confirmed.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is asking people to take more care, also revealing that the number of grass fires doubled to 116 in June and July alone this year.

Eight appliances were needed to put out the fire, which also affected 100 metres of hedgerow at Heath Lane, Welton on Wednesday afternoon.

The aftermath of the fire. Photo: Connor Creaghan

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue have responded to more than 10 similar field fires in the last five days, a figure which highlights the dangerous conditions which currently exists in the countryside.

Dan Moss, the incident commander at the Welton fire, said: “Conditions are so dry, we all have to be extra careful.

“Incidents like the one at Welton yesterday have been occurring far too often in recent weeks, which emphasises just how easy it can be for a fire to start and therefor how careful we all need to be.

“We know this one was caused by a discarded cigarette and so it was an incident that could have been avoided with a little more care.

“Although we are told this long, hot summer might be coming to an end with some rain forecast this coming weekend, it doesn’t mean we can all relax.

“We have previously had very heavy rainstorms which had very little effect on the dry ground. Please, please take care when enjoying the countryside.”

Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue Area Manager Mark Baxter explained how the increase in fire call-outs can stretch the emergency service.

“Up until this year it has been a similar number of fires each year, but it has spiked in 2018,” he said.

“Many of those who respond to these emergencies and help keep communities safe are on-call firefighters. They have full-time day jobs as well so they have been very busy.

“We are very grateful to the local farming community who have been working hard alongside firefighters in many of the incidents reported.

“We continue to work with the farming community to look at ways in how we can reduce the risk of field fires whilst farmers are working within their fields

“But we can all help safeguard our countryside and the wellbeing of those who live in rural areas by taking a little extra care.”