Comet heatwave: The heat is on

PUBLISHED: 12:27 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:31 06 May 2010

A fire engine patrols the blackened landscape around Knebworth as they damp down after a devastating field fire

A fire engine patrols the blackened landscape around Knebworth as they damp down after a devastating field fire

WITH temperatures soaring to 35C yesterday (Wednesday) we take a look at how the summer heatwave has been affecting Comet country. From train tracks buckling to a council asking residents to water young trees with their bath water, the hot weather has ce

WITH temperatures soaring to 35C yesterday (Wednesday) we take a look at how the summer heatwave has been affecting Comet country.

From train tracks buckling to a council asking residents to water young trees with their bath water, the hot weather has certainly produced many different stories - and words of warning.

FIELD fires have been ripping through Comet country as the temperatures soar.

The hot weather has made land dry and led to an increase in field fires.

Bedfordshire firefighters tackled a blaze covering 130 acres of standing corn at Tempsford on Sunday afternoon which was threatening a nearby railway line.

Trains on the East Coast Main Line slowed down because of the flames and thick smoke near the track.

In Knebworth huge plumes of smoke were visible for miles around after 100 acres of farmland went up in smoke on Stevenage Road on Sunday afternoon.

Crews were also called to field fires at 6pm on Monday at Almshoebury Farm, St Ippolyts and at Lodge Farm House, Park Lane, Knebworth on Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday at 4pm crews were called to a fire on Whempstead Road, Benington, after two wooden barns which contained hay caught alight.

Over the weekend alone there were 14 field fires in Hertfordshire.

The fire services in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire have issued advice.

A spokesman said: "Take care in the current dry conditions not to discard cigarettes or glass which may ignite grassland or crops.

"If you do spot a fire, get out of the way and dial 999 straight away. A crop fire can spread very rapidly and endanger life."

Farm land is particularly at risk. Roy Vigus, National Farmers' Union county chairman for Hertfordshire, said: "One carelessly discarded cigarette or glass bottle could mean months of work literally going up in smoke for a farmer, not to mention the damage these fires do to the environment

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