Quick action stopped eight-hectare West Ashling fire spreading further

Eight hectares of straw caught fire in West Ashling. Picture by Eddie Mitchell
Eight hectares of straw caught fire in West Ashling. Picture by Eddie Mitchell

A firefighter has praised his team for stopping a crop fire spreading further on Sunday (September 6).

It took more than two hours to get the West Ashling blaze under control, with crews battling to stop it spreading to adjoining fields.

“They did a good job stopping it spreading into the second field,” said station commander Mark Swanton.

Firefighters from Petworth, Littlehampton, Selsey, Bognor Regis, Havant, Fareham and Petersfield were all called to the scene.

Mr Swanton said the fire was a complete accident caused by the baler overheating.

“It was lying in rows and they started to bale it. It was as they were going through the rows that the baler caught light,” he said.

“It set the rows of straw alight and also the stubble in the field.

“The fire also went over a hedge into an adjacent field and the crews managed to stop it in that field. It was going quite quickly.

“Once it gets going it goes very quickly across the field.”

As it was, the fire just off Southbrook Road was around eight hectares in size, according to West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

The fire brigade was first called at 2.10pm and it was 4.35pm before everything was extinguished.

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