THE cost of farm fires in Wales has fallen despite an overall increase in the UK - which hit a four-year peak last year.

Claims figures from rural insurer NFU Mutual have revealed farm fires cost £46.4 million in 2018 nationally, an increase of 27.5 per cent on the previous year. The long dry summer of 2018 was held us as one reason for this increase.

But in Wales over the same period the amount paid out was down 32 per cent from 2017 at £900,000.

The east of England was the worst-affected area of the UK, with claims totalling £11.1 million.


The scale of farm fires has prompted a call to farmers to check their fire prevention methods and evacuation procedures.

Rebecca Davidson, NFU Mutual rural insurance specialist, said: "Fire remains one of the greatest risks to the lives and property of farmers.

“Our latest figures serve as a crucial reminder to be alert to the danger and have plans prepared and shared with family members and staff.

"It is possible to manage the risks by taking all possible steps to prevent fires breaking out, and to have clear plans in place to evacuate people and livestock safely in the event of a fire.”

Electrical fires were the most common cause of farm fires in Wales in 2018 (53 per cent), with the prolonged, drier summer contributing to the scale of blazes.

According to the Met Office, 2018 was the driest summer since 2003 and hottest since 2006. These conditions and an early harvest left UK farmers particularly vulnerable to fires, with tinder-dry crops and overheating combines and farm machinery.

The second most common cause of farm fires in the region was fires spreading from elsewhere, such as a barn or homesteads.

Ian Jewitt, managing director of NFU Mutual risk management services, said: “We’d advise farmers to schedule regular safety checks of electrical equipment to help minimise that risk.

"Consider fencing off straw stacks and farm buildings to discourage arsonists and make it harder for fires to spread by keeping hay and straw at least 10 meters away from farm buildings.

“To enable you to fight a small fire safely, keep fire extinguishers in good working order and make adults living and working on the farm aware of where they can be found and how they should be used.”