A farmer who got back into his burning combine harvester in a bid to drive it away from his crops has lost 15 acres of wheat in a blaze.
Giles Halfhead was driving the combine harvester in a field off the A52 at Haceby, near Sleaford, when one of the workers on the farm radioed him to tell him the back of it was on fire.
Mr Halfhead got out with his fire extinguisher in a bid to tackle the blaze himself, but when that failed he decided to limit the damage to his crops by getting back in and driving it into a grass field.
Mr Halfhead said: “I was just driving it along and one of my troops radioed across to tell me I was on fire, so I quickly stopped and got the fire extinguisher on it.
“It didn’t do much good and I knew the combine was a goner, so I drove it into the grass field to try and limit the damage but the fuel dripped into the wheat and the tracks and the fire spread to the crops – it caught so quickly.
“We had neighbours saying they could see the smoke from miles away – a neighbouring estate at Culverthorpe saw the smoke and sent us a water tank to fill one of the fire engines.
“It was a great example of neighbours pulling together – we’re really grateful for their help.”
Mr Halfhead said that fortunately he was insured, so the farm wouldn’t suffer financially.
He said: “You normally smell it through the air-con but there was no warning with this one.
“It’s not really a common thing to happen – it’s happened to me three times in 45 years of farming, but it’s usually caused by dust.
“You can’t keep them entirely dust-free, but it had just been cleaned – but the way it went up it had to be fuel-related.
“It wasn’t brave or heroic or anything – I just did what I could to save my crop – I didn’t put myself in danger, it was the back end on fire, not the cab.”
Fire crews from Billingborough, Donington, Billinghay and Grantham tackled the blaze on August 13 which was caused by a mechanical fault.