A blaze erupted in How Caple at 4.16pm on Monday, destroying a large combine harvester and affecting approximately one hectare of stubble and straw. Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service swiftly responded, with crews from Fownhope, Ross-on-Wye, and Hereford Fire Stations attending the scene.
The fire was combated using foam jets, a 45mm hose, hose reel jets, and beaters. After the flames were doused, a thermal imaging camera was employed to check the area for any remaining hot spots. Thankfully, the incident resulted in no casualties.
By 6.47pm, the majority of the crews had departed. However, a Fownhope crew returned at 8.22pm for a reinspection, identifying and addressing a few lingering hot spots with a hose reel jet. The situation was marked as pending closure by 9.36pm, ensuring the safety of the area.
A video capturing the incident shows the sky turning black from the thick smoke. The ground thudded with the force of the explosions, believed to be from the harvester's fuel tank. The fire's intensity was such that even fire engines were initially obscured by the thick smoke.
The harvester's fire also sparked several smaller fires in the vicinity due to the explosions. Firefighters used hoses to douse the flames, with water being sprayed directly onto the main fire. The video explained that the explosions led to additional fires in the surrounding area.
The wind carried the smoke towards nearby houses. Traffic on the nearby road was halted, and the smell of the smoke was pervasive.