Pas-de-Calais: Six million views on TikTok for the farmer who saves his field from fire

Pas-de-Calais: Six million views on TikTok for the farmer who saves his field from fire

Drought, extreme temperatures and harvest timing create an explosive mix that results in thousands of hectares being devastated by fire each year. Last Thursday, a farmer from Etrun, near Arras, in Pas-de-Calais, was the victim of a harvest fire. And it was by trying to save his wheat field and an adjoining small wood that he became a real star on TikTok. 20 minutes was able to find him.

Antoine Deffontaines runs a potato and vegetable farm in Etrun with one of his boys and several employees. He also cultivates wheat, in particular a 25-hectare field on the outskirts of the town. On Thursday, he received a panicked phone call from a busy farmer harvesting an adjoining plot. Quite involuntarily, he caused a fire to start which is beginning to spread to Antoine Deffontaines’ wheat field.

Nearly 6 million views in 5 days

“We weren’t there at the time, so I called the fire brigade and sent one of my guys on the spot with a cultivator hitched to a tractor,” the farmer explains to 20 minutes. It was necessary to act quickly, on one side, the fire threatened to jump the main road to attack the field opposite. On the other, the flames advanced towards a small wood. “We have plowed a wide strip on the edge of the wood, about 1.5 hectares of unharvested wheat,” he continues. Relatively dangerous operation, “especially if the tractor breaks down”, recognizes Antoine Deffontaine. This sacrifice and the action of the firefighters made it possible to limit the damage to 8 hectares out of the 25.

A few onlookers witnessed the scene, including @fabregas240807, a TikTok user who filmed the awesome tractor action. Posted on his account the day after the disaster, the video went viral. This Tuesday, it accumulated 5.7 million views, 545,000 likes and more than 9,000 comments. “I am not that, it was my kids who alerted me to this video”, recognizes the operator. Support, tributes, bravos and even the desire to create a kitty to help the farmer make up for his losses. “It’s unbelievable, I don’t really realize it. I don’t even know who made the video, yet he must be from the area, ”adds Antoine Deffontaine. He will probably try to contact him in some time. “There, right away, we have our heads in the harvest”, explains this hero in spite of himself from TikTok.


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