Jimmy’s Farm evacuated as fire crews tackle blaze
The attraction features a working farm, wildlife park, adventure play area and restaurant.
A farm attraction run by chef Jamie Oliver’s best friend and TV co-host was evacuated after a fire broke out on a neighbouring farm’s field.
Staff at Jimmy’s Farm, which is run by Jimmy Doherty in Wherstead near Ipswich, Suffolk, ushered visitors out as a precautionary measure on Wednesday.
Nichola Adams, festival director for Jimmy’s Farm, said there were “huge plumes of black smoke”.
The attraction hosts more than 300 rare-breed pigs and comprises a working farm, wildlife park, adventure play area and restaurant.
Doherty and Oliver host Channel 4 cooking show Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast.
Our crews are currently in attendance of a large fire in Wherstead, near Jimmy’s Farm. 8 fire appliances have been mobilised to the incident. Please avoid the area if possible and expect local traffic congestion if you have to travel in that vicinity. 🔥🚒 pic.twitter.com/b2F6NEe62s— Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service (@SuffolkFire) July 25, 2018
Jimmy’s Farm held a sausage and beer festival last weekend which was attended by thousands of people.
“Thank goodness the fire wasn’t last weekend,” said Ms Adams.
Explaining the decision to evacuate the attraction, she added: “It was very close to the farm park and we had public on site.
“We evacuated it as a precaution and people went very calmly.
“We will be back open tomorrow.”
She praised members of the public who left the site “really calmly and safely”.
A Suffolk Fire Service spokesman said it received a 999 call at 2.05pm on Wednesday and eight fire engines were sent to tackle the blaze at Blue Gates Farm.
It was under control by around 3pm, the fire service said, adding that the cause of the fire was not known.
Crews were earlier called to a separate 25-acre crop fire at Elveden, which was called in at 10.24am.
Fifteen fire engines attended, with a drone used to help direct units on the ground and a local farmer helping to create fire breaks.
Drone footage from the field fire earlier today in Elveden. 20-25 acres of standing crop were alight, and a total 17 vehicles attended to help put it out. A great team effort with local landowners, farmers and our colleagues from @Norfolkfire 🚒🚒 pic.twitter.com/X8nf5yLxEk— Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service (@SuffolkFire) July 25, 2018
It was brought under control by 12.20pm. The cause of the fire is not known.
“Since Saturday we’ve had over 150 calls and over 75 of those have been field-related or fires out in the open,” a fire service spokesman said.
“There have been a lot of calls coming in and the fire service are working very hard at the moment.
“Everything is tinder dry out there.
“All it takes is a combine harvester to hit a bit of flint and it all goes up.”