Fire crews have issued advice to farmers after being called to an incident in Talsarn where hay bales were warm to the touch.

At 10.17am on Friday, 5 July, a Tactical Officer from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service was called to an incident at the Herd on the Hill Animal Sanctuary in Talsarn, following reports of hay bales that were warm to the touch.

The bales were tested for heat and moisture content, with another Tactical Officer reattending the property later that day, along with a crew from Lampeter Fire Station for assistance, to monitor the bales and to carry out a Home Fire Safety Check which involved installing smoke alarms.

During these visits, 20 bales were removed from the barn with a reinspection planned for the following day.

During the reinspection, the bales were found to have reached a critical temperature. Approximately 100 bales were required to be removed from the barn and the Lampeter crew was mobilised again as a safety precaution in case any of them caught fire.

Crew members continued to monitor the temperature of the bales, with smoke issuing from them.

Following this incident, MAWWFRS is reminding farmers that it offers a free bale temperature testing service.

A spokesperson said: "If you have concerns regarding the temperature of your bales, please contact us to request a check of the temperature and moisture content of the bales, using specialist equipment.

"To book a free visit, please call 0800 169 1234.

"If bales are smouldering or on fire call 999 immediately."

Stored bales must not have a moisture content greater than 22 per cent.

Bales with a temperature above 35°C can maintain their own heat generation to a point where spontaneous combustion can occur.

A fire service spokesperson added: "Where possible, stacks should be sited separately, away from other farm buildings, especially livestock buildings.

"Signs of bales overheating may include discolouration or browning in some areas, stacks seen to be ‘steaming’ early in the morning or late evening, the presence of a sweet, sickly smell and hay turning to a tobacco-like form.