Straw stack fire in Wisbech believed started by arsonists to burn for several days

TWO hundreds tonnes of straw destroyed today in a blaze - which is believed to have been started by arsonists - has been left to burn itself out.

Firefighters were called to the straw stack fire near Gadds Lane, Wisbech, at 12.45am today and decided to allow the stack to burn itself out with constant supervision.

At 10.30am, however, firefighters decided to leave the scene but return at regular intervals to check the blaze make sure it burns out safely.

A fire service spokesman said: “We believe it will burn for a few days because it is massive. There were about 400 bales.”

He also said that firefighters believe the blaze was started deliberately.

Such is the scale of the stack that a man and his dog walking past were dwarfed by the burning heap in our picture by photographer Brian Purdy.

The spokesman also issued advice for farmers to reduce the risk of stack fires, deliberate or accidental:

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• Ensure that stacks are built as far away from public access as possible. Stacks which are next to roads and public footpaths are more at risk from arson or discarded cigarettes

• Do not store combustible materials such as fuel near stacks

• Ensure stacks are a safe distance from buildings

• Never allow smoking near stacks

• Avoid building stacks underneath, or close to, overhead power cables