Montgomeryshire NFU Cymru has joined with Mid and West Wales Fire Service to launch a new free service to reduce the number of farm fires.The campaign has been launched following publication of claims statistics from rural insurers showing the number of farm fires in Wales more than tripled in 2011. The report revealed 39 farm fire claims in 2011 for Wales, compared to 11 in 2010.“A farm fire is a potentially devastating event" said Edward Chapman, NFU Cymru county chairman. "Not only a threat to human and animal life, not to mention buildings, feedstuffs and machinery, a fire can literally bring a farm business to a standstill – causing many thousands of pounds worth of damage."“Fire safety fits well with NFU Cymru’s Farm Safety Campaign and I encourage our members to request a free farm safety check.” “We’re very concerned about the sharp rise in fires on Welsh farms,” said Welshpool NFU Cymru Group Secretary Stephen Kenyon. “Apart for the danger to people and livestock, farm fires can destroy a life’s work building up a farm. While insurance can cover the financial losses, it can’t compensate for loss of life and we urge farmers to take up the fire prevention and control advice provided by the fire services and our own subsidiary, NFU Mutual Risk Management Services.” Newtown Station Manager, Steve Rowlands from the Fire Service said, “Our advice to farmers is to pay particular attention to the fire risk they face and to do everything they can to protect themselves, especially as fewer people work on farms with increasingly bigger and more complicated machinery, larger storage buildings and significant fire hazards such as large hay and straw stacks, fertiliser, fuel, bottled gas and pesticides - often stored for use in the months to come. “The result is that valuable assets are often concentrated in close proximity to many more heat and ignition sources. You should take time to review the risks of fire on the farm. For instance, any farm buildings which are near to roads, public footpaths, playing fields or other public areas and taking action to secure them against would-be vandals, arsonists or careless walkers.“Obvious precautions include maintaining and cleaning all machinery and vehicles plus ensuring all electrical wiring and systems are regularly checked – especially those in outbuildings used for storing crops or rearing stock.