FARMERS are being warned that their hay bales may spontaneously combust due to recent wet weather.

Officers from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue released the warning because of the recent wet weather, which may cause mixtures of damp and dry hay to spontaneously combust.

Station manager Graham Kewley explained how to prevent wet hay from suddenly catch fire.

"High moisture hay stacks can cause chemical reactions that build heat, but covering field stacks can reduce this, as can ensuring that barns are filled in stages and have sufficient ventilation, said Mr Kewley.

Additionally, farmers should not bale hay which is too wet or green, and should allow plenty of ventilation within stacks.

Stack temperatures should also be carefully monitored after storage.

On top of this, the farm security should be stepped up to prevent arson as even a small fire can seriously affect the quality of stored products.

Farm managers are advised to make sure that fire risk assessments are kept up to date and seek advice from their nearest police rural crime team to help reduce both accidental and deliberate fires in rural areas.