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Farmer fought wildfires by creating trench to stop flames reaching home

Farmer fought wildfires by creating trench to stop flames reaching home
The fire destroyed 20 hectares of land

A local farmer has been labelled a hero after bravely intervening to slow a ferocious wildfire spreading across a field in Kent.

Firefighters were called to tackle a huge crop blaze that broke out in a field in Lenham Heath, entre Maidstone et Ashford, in Kent just before 3.15pm on Saturday.

The fire spread across almost 20 acres of land and could be seen by a huge queue of lorry drivers on the M20.

Farmer Bill Alexander “rapidly stepped in” and used his tractor to cut the crops around the fire to help slow it down after the wind turned the blaze towards a house.

Andy Barr, who owns the Kent farm, praised his “good neighbour” for his “hero” actions and tweeted the image of the tractor cutting the crops.

“Please tell everyone to be careful what they do along roads and paths, 20ha of spring barley up in flames," a déclaré M. Barr.

<p>The fire destroyed almost 20 hectares of land</p>

The fire destroyed almost 20 hectares of land

“This pic from my son was when the wind turned towards my brother’s house, luckily Bill Alexander and Jonny & Ellie from TCAgri saved the day.”

The fire was brought under control after 90 minutes as eight fire engines tackled the blaze. The cause is still being investigated.

A fire service spokesman said: “We were sent to reports of a standing crop fire in fields on Lenham Heath.

“Crews worked hard to get the fire under control which covered approximately eight hectares, the equivalent of almost 20 acres.

“The fire has been brought under control and put out. Firefighters escorted persons who were in the vicinity to safety. There are no reports of any injuries.”

The fire comes after multiple fires broke out across the south of England and Wales this week as an intense heatwave takes over the UK.

Parties de Londres, Kent, Cornwall and Pembrokeshire saw wildfires erupt at as temperatures reach record highs of 40C in parts of the country.

Regarding the causes of such blazes, a London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “The recent hot, dry weather has made the ground extremely dry, which unfortunately means grassland and parks will burn quickly when exposed to even the smallest of sparks.

<p>Row of houses destroyed in the Wennington fire</p>

Row of houses destroyed in the Wennington fire

“Common causes of grass fires include carelessly discarded cigarettes or matches as well as rubbish left lying around such as glass bottles, which can start flames by magnifying the sun’s rays.”

A Norfolk family who “lost everything” in the UK wildfires told The Independent of their shock at this week’s events.

”That’s all that we’ve got out. Everything else was totally destroyed. We had the clothes we stood up in and nothing else,” the 67-year-old garden centre worker says.

The couple is now faced with having to replace everything. He says they thought their contents insurance was rolling over, but have now found out it expired.

<p>David and Trudi Calver lost nearly all of their possessions - save a painting and a few photgraphs - in the fire</p>

David and Trudi Calver lost nearly all of their possessionssave a painting and a few photgraphsin the fire

They do not really have enough savings to fall back on either, il dit, which is why a friend has set up a fundraising page to help them, as well as their neighbour.

When asked where the couple were living now, Mr Calver says: “We’re not living basically, we’re sofa surfing.”

Firefighters have called Tuesday’s blazes a “wake-up call” on the climate crisis as hundreds broke out.

Mr Calver said he never expected something like this to happen in his small Norfolk village, which has a population of around 200. Seven fire engines and three police cars turned up when the houses went up in flames.

“It’s come as a complete shock,” says Mr Calver. “I said to people this must be the most excitement Ashmanhaugh has had since the war.”