Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has warned farmers to be vigilant following a series of fires at farms across Somerset over the last fortnight.
Working with Avon and Somerset Police, investigations by the fire service have led Police to conclude that a number of these have been deliberate acts of arson.
Whilst not currently thought to be linked, investigations continue into suspected arsons at Holwell Lane on Cheddar on Saturday 13th February; Langaller Farm in Creech St Michael on Friday 19th February; and Bell Lane in Cossington on Sunday 21st February.
Two further barn fires, at Stretcholt near Burnham-On-Sea on Sunday 21st February and Brendon Hill, Watchet, on Tuesday 23rd February are not thought to be suspicious.
Group Commander Chris Pratt, of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This recent spate of fires in agricultural buildings around Somerset is concerning. Barn fires can quickly escalate and spread to other nearby buildings, increasing the risk to life for not only animals, but people too.”
“We are calling on farmers and farm managers to act with vigilance at the moment to try to reduce these fires happening. We want to prevent any further fires before someone is seriously hurt.”
“Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are working alongside our colleagues at Avon and Somerset Police and investigations into these incidents are ongoing.”
Anyone with information that could assist police with their investigations should call 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Tips to reduce the risk of arson on farms
• Check fencing security, and repair or replace damaged fencing or gates.
• Install intruder sensors and security lighting.
• Maintain security of outbuildings.
• Keep firefighting equipment in good order.
General farm fire safety
• Keep escape routes clear at all times and keep all areas free from rubbish, oily cloths and other combustible materials.
• Ensure that your family and employees know what to do in the event of a fire. Make sure everyone knows where the nearest phone is. Carry a mobile phone at all times, especially if working alone.
• Keep firefighting equipment in good working order and ensure it is serviced regularly. Ensure it can be accessed easily at all times and that everyone is aware where it is located.
• Make sure that the entrance to your farm is clearly signposted and keep all access routes clear for emergency vehicles.
We also recommend that you have an animal evacuation plan for your livestock in the event of a fire. More information on how to protect farms and agricultural buildings from fire is available here.