Farmers are being urged to be on the alert to avoid becoming a victim of an arson attack.
Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service, Northamptonshire Police and the CLA are urging the county’s farmers to take some precautionary steps.
Straw stacks are typically targeted during July and October, and these fires cost farming businesses thousands of pounds – as well as causing huge disruption to rural communities.
CLA Eastern Regional Surveyor Claire Wright said: “The summertime and harvest are exceptionally busy times on farms in the county and across the region. Deliberate fire setting causes untold problems for farmers – and the people involved show no thought of the consequences.
“Deliberate straw stack fires destroy important material used in arable and livestock farming – it’s not just a by-product. They can spread rapidly, threatening buildings, livestock, machinery, and, potentially, human lives.
“These fires also keep fire and police service personnel tied up for hours when they may be needed to attend an emergency elsewhere.
“We hope by raising awareness with the county’s Police and Fire and Rescue teams we can reduce the number of these incidents.”
Mick Rodden of the Northamptonshire Arson Task Force, a partnership between the county’s Police and Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Farmers know their business, but we remind them to be wary of placing straw stacks near buildings.
“When choosing a site for the stack think carefully, is it near to a public highway or footpath where the public have easy access? Choosing a suitable location can reduce the chances of arson.
“We would also request they do not build stacks near electricity pylons or beneath overhead power cables.”
Arson prevention advice compiled by Northamptonshire Arson Task Force can be downloaded from: http://www.cla.org.uk/sites/default/files/PDF%20Documents/Eastern/Stack%20fires%20prevention.pdf.