THESE are the dramatic scenes as 20 tonnes of hay bales were destroyed in an early-morning farmland fire.

Four fire crews from Maldon, South Woodham Ferrers and Corringham tackled the blaze which saw thick smoke rising high over Mundon Road in Mundon.

After reporting to calls of the fire at around 1.15am, crews begun attempting to extinguish the blaze with a water bowser on hand to try to bring it under the control.

In the midst of the flames was a trailer, surrounded by the bales of hay, all of which were being destroyed as the fire took hold.

A spokesman for Maldon Fire Station said: “In the early hours of last Friday, we received a call to attend a trailer with around 20 tonnes of hay which had caught fire.

“A request was sent for an additional fire engine and a water bowser due to the size of the fire.”

The crews spent around three hours battling the fire.

Pictures taken by the Maldon team show the full extent of the blaze, with flames covering a huge area of the land.

The crew had to use a cherry picker to get above the stack of hay, in order to cool the flaming bales. Essex Fire and Rescue said the blaze had been completely extinguished by 4.25am.

A spokesman for Maldon Fire Station added: “At 5am, a relief was arranged for two fire engines to continue working on dampening down and turning over to ensure all hotspots were extinguished before leaving the incident.”

The fire started accidentally.