Field blaze was arson, fire service confirm

Fire investigators have confirmed suspicions that a wheat-field blaze that caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and led to homes being evacuated was started deliberately.

The blaze broke out in the fields below Sandal Castle on Wednesday afternoon and ravaged 14 acres of winter wheat within minutes.

At one point the flames were so high and intense they began to melt the first floor guttering on homes on the Portobello estate’s Duke of York Avenue just yards from the fields.

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People were led to safety from their homes though a thick blanket of smoke that engulfed the road.

The call was made to the emergency services at around 3.20pm yesterday and there were 10 fire engines battling the blaze at one point, including crews from Wakefield, Ossett, Castleford, Pontefract, Dewsbury, Skelmanthorpe, Dewsbury and Morley.

They were able to bring it under control within an hour, using beaters to prevent it spreading to adjacent fields, but an estimated £15,000 worth of damage had already been caused.