A farmer and one of his team narrowly escaped serious injury as they helped battle a blaze raging across a 60 acre field on Monday afternoon.

Colin Rayner, who is the Royal Borough's deputy mayor spotted the blaze at about 2.30pm on the big field at Berkyn Manor Farm which has been farmed by his family in Horton for generations.

He called the fire brigade immediately. But Cllr Rayner and his team went into action themselves as well.

He was joined by his uncle Michael Rayner and cousin John as they tried frantically to create 'fire breaks' to stop the flames spreading by putting a tractor and JCBs on ground in the fire's path.

He said: "It was a terrifying and dangerous ordeal with one of our tractors which was making a fire break catching fire. Luckily, my man got out in time."

He was Marius Milewski  who emerged unscathed.

Mr Rayner himself almost came a cropper himself.

He said: "I got cornered in my JCB and had to drive through the fire. There was so much smoke at one point I was terrified I would hit a firefighter."

He admitted that he and his men may have overstepped  the mark and that risks they took were against firefighters' advice.

But he had felt they had to take action at once even though dozens firefighters were on the scene quickly. 

He said: "Fire can leapfrog 50 to 60, even 100 feet. We were worried it could have reached the school nearby, houses in Rayners Close and Moreland Avenue, even the petrol station."

Cllr Rayner lost 28 hectares of barley and believes damage may amount to £28,000.

He also fears that arsonists may have been responsible, saying: "It may have been started by someone on the Bridleway."

He said a representative from the National Farmer's Union had come down to survey the damage and discuss the growing problem facing farmers in the hot, dry summer.

The fire was under control by 4pm.

Fire crew manager Alex Clarke from Langley fire station confirmed that his men had had to act quickly to stgop the fire spreading towards houses. Crews from across Berkshire, Surrey and London joined the battle.

Mr Clarke repeated earlier warnings to people to take care not to drop cigarette ends or bottles that can magnify the sun's rays on open ground.

Monday's blaze followed a similar fire that destroyed a 15 acre field at Stroud Farm, Holyport last week.