Agricultural fires highest for five years

Farmers are being urged to take precautions to protect their property as the number of fires in rural areas reached its peak last year.

Thursday, 29th September 2016, 3:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:46 pm
Last year there were 22 fires on agricultural land in the Scottish Borders.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), in conjunction with NFU Scotland, earlier this year launched the rural risk survey to encourage farmers and crofters to inform SFRS of what they have on their properties, and map out any dangers.

By having a rural risk form completed, fire crews can work to prevent extensive damage in the event of a fire, but also prevent injury to the farmer, their family, workers and the fire crews.

Last year alone there were 343 fires on agricultural land, 22 of which were in the Borders and 25 in Dumfries and Galloway.

Farmers are encouraged to contact their local fire station to inform them of what they hold on their farms in particular those who have silos.

Through the survey, farmers provide basic details, and are then contacted by SFRS who will come out to farm and map out a plan of the farm to pinpoint hazards including slurry, but also where livestock are kept, old buildings and the nearest water supply.

NFU Scotland’s president Allan Bowie explained: “A fire on a farm can be devastating and it is worrying to see that incidents are at their peak since 2010.

“With farms and crofts often in remote areas, and can on occasion be hard to find, this rural risk survey will assist in helping fire crews to reach the fire quicker and more easily and prevent wider damage.”

Scott Kennedy of Scottish Fire and Rescue Service commented: “If we’d had the rural risk information to hand to allow crews to be more familiar with the farm, it could have assisted in knowing what hazards there were, where the closest water supplies were and the best way to access the farm.”