FARMERS are being urged to help prevent fires after several blazes in recent weeks.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service has issued the warning following the spell of warm and dry weather.

Recently fire crews have attended a number of incidents where hay and straw bales and grassland has been set on fire.

Several of the incidents are believed to have been arson attacks.

Andy Whitehead, district manager for the fire service, said: “Such fires can spread extremely quickly causing damage to property and the environment and put people and animals at risk.

“We would urge farmers to remove bales from open fields and store them securely in small stacks.”