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Crop fire damages 40 acres

PUBLISHED: 17:32 21 July 2010 | UPDATED: 11:49 23 August 2010

FIFTY firefighters battled a massive blaze which ripped through a corn field on Monday destroying 40 acres of the crop. A police helicopter was dispatched to the scene off Shellbank Lane, Bean, and fire crews from Gravesend and Dartford were assisted by o

FIFTY firefighters battled a massive blaze which ripped through a corn field on Monday destroying 40 acres of the crop.

A police helicopter was dispatched to the scene off Shellbank Lane, Bean, and fire crews from Gravesend and Dartford were assisted by other Kent and London stations.

Emergency services on the ground liaised with helicopter staff so the incident commander could make full assessments from the air as well as the ground and direct firefighting accordingly. Officers decided to keep the busy A2 open despite the thick plumes of smoke.

The blaze was reported at about 3.30pm and firefighters quickly estimated the extent of damage but said no-one was injured during the blaze which lasted several hours and property was never at risk.

Head of community safety Stuart Skilton said: "During warmer weather, grass and crop fires can be serious problem for the service and tie up a huge amount of our valuable firefighting resources."

As firefighters tackled the blaze a brave farmer used a tractor to try and create a fire break in the standing corn and firemen found themselves tackling isolated pockets of corn and undergrowth which flared up.

Other crews assisting were from Strood, Hoo, Edenbridge, Bexley, Erith and Kennington.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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