HOT weather caused a major blaze at a waste depot in South Oxfordshire yesterday, a fire service spokesman said today.

Fire bosses said oily rags caught fire after being exposed to intense sunlight at Grundon Waste Management Ltd, Ewelme, near Benson.

Plumes of smoke could be seen for miles around when the fire broke out at about 7.20pm.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: "The cause has been determined as accidental.

“It was caused by the breakdown of organic materials in sunlight leading to slow burning, which we believe commenced in the late afternoon.

“We have confirmed with Thames Valley Police that the fire is accidental‎ and is not being treated as suspicious.”

About 75 firefighters - including crews from Banbury, Berkshire and Didcot - tackled the blaze.

The fire was put out by 3am and was contained in the sorting building of the depot, in Goulds Grove.

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