The high temperatures and dry weather indicate a very busy time for the farming community.

With the increased use of machinery and harvesting of crops at optimum conditions there are increased risks of fire.

Each year in the UK on average around 1,600 farm buildings and 85,000 areas of grassland are destroyed by fire. Around 40 per cent of these fires are started deliberately, many as an act of mindless vandalism. A serious fire on a farm can affect the financial stability of even the most well run business.

To reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring on your farm there are number of things you can do. Ensure that harvest machinery is well maintained and checked regularly, lubricated and that it is clean from oil, fuel and excessive dust and debris build up. Carry an extinguisher when carrying out harvesting operations. Make sure hay/straw is sufficiently dry before baling and left to cool outdoors before storing.

NFU Cymru recently attended a collaborative project which brought together a range of land-based sectors, including farming and forestry, to engage with the decision makers, local councils and public service sectors to deliver the two-day Wildfire in Wales 2023 Conference.

The Healthy Hillside project is a Welsh Government-funded partnership programme designed to reduce the impact of wildfires across the South Wales Valleys. The project demonstrates collaboration with wider partners to work towards protective wildfire risk management, whilst improving resilience to communities, climate and ecosystems.

The conference showcased the Healthy Hillsides demonstration activities which have been conducted with the purpose of reducing the risk of wildfire across Wales, including the launch of the Wales Wildfire Charter.

Every year fire is responsible for the destruction of thousands of hectares of countryside, open space, and wildlife habitats. The fire service wants to work with communities and farmers to build a healthier and more resilient countryside for the future. Working with farmers and sharing knowledge provides them with a better understanding of what they can do to limit the damage that accidental fires cause to our environment.

Following the conference, Healthy Hillside are aiming to create an action plan of activities and recommendations after the project completion at the end of June 2023.

At NFU Cymru we will continue to work closely with Healthy Hillside to ensure we promote the use of different ways to manage the landscape to prevent wildfires.