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Farmer escapes as blaze ravages fields in Copford
A FARMER escaped when a fire ravaged 123 acres of his fields.
Howard Dennis had finished work at his farm in Copford when he was confronted with a wall of fire heading towards him.
It is believed the blaze was started deliberately on a footpath next to a field before spreading across the stubble.
Mr Dennis, 60, had harvested the wheat from his fields three days earlier.
Nine fire crews tackled the blaze for more than two hours before it was put out on Sunday at 5.40pm.
Mr Dennis, of Mascots Farm, School Road, Copford, said: “I suddenly saw all this smoke swirling around. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from.
“I rushed back and there was just a wall of bright orange flames progressing this way. It was a rather scary situation.
“We were told it started on a footpath and then jumped into our fields.”
Weather conditions on Sunday helped spread the fire, with the extreme heat and breeze fanning the flame.
Mr Dennis said: “The wheat had only been combined three days before. I was very lucky.
“If it had happened four days earlier, it would have burned so much more fiercely. There were no buildings involved either.”
The fields will be ploughed over the next few weeks ready to be planted again for next year.
Firefighters are treating the fire as deliberate, although Mr Dennis said he did not hold out much hope of finding the culprit.
He said the firefighters were at the scene in minutes and were excellent.