This week has seen a high number of barn fires across the south west - many that have been caused by hay spontaneously combusting .

If the temperature of a haystack rises above 55 degrees C, a chemical reaction occurs which produces a flammable gas.

This can ignite when the temperature gets high enough.

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Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is advising farmers to be especially aware of the fire risk when making and storing hay in the current damp weather.

The team recommend that hay and straw is removed from the fields as soon as possible after harvest.

It should be dry before storing and then stored in stacks at least 10 metres apart, with enough space between the top of the stack and any electrical roof lighting.

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Hay and straw should be stored away from livestock and from other buildings - and definitely any that are holding fuels, chemicals.

They also advise monitoring the temperature of the haystacks with a thermometer.

A final word of warning is that if there is a caramel or musty smell, it's a sign that the hay is heating.