A crop fire in wheat growing between Broadley Rd in Millmead and Northdown Hill was started this afternoon at about 4.30pm. I am glad to report it has been put out.
When I left the scene Kent Fire Brigade were still monitoring the situation to ensure no further flare ups ocurred from any hot-spots. The gusting wind and predominantly stiff westerly breeze meant that not only was the fire moving quickly but jumping, with flare-ups being started by hot embers blown down wind. The gusting shifts in wind direction were hazardous to fire-fighters beating the fire down from behind the fire-line as the fire was blown back on them. Not a nice job.
I suspect that either a carelessly thrown cigarette or deliberate arson was the cause. Farming on the urban fringe, as most farmers do in Thanet, can be a soul-less task with litter, fly-tipping, car-burning, 4x4 offroading, moto-cross and arson of barns or ricks being a regular feature. Many ignorant Thanetonians seem unaware that plants growing in fields are 'food' and represent hard-work and investment to make a return.
The dry weather in June has lead to early ripening wheat and barley that will need to stand until potato crops are gathered. A ripe field can dry out quickly in stiff breezes on a sunny day like today and I suspect this will not be the last crop fire this harvest season.