Local News

Durham Crews Monitor Smoldering Yard-Waste Pile

Posted September 12, 2006

— Durham crews have been monitoring sections of a smoldering pile of yard waste pile at the city's yard-waste composting facility.

A resident noticed smoke from the Yard Waste facility on Sunday and contacted the city. City fire crews and members of the city's department of Solid Waste Management responded immediately to assess the situation.

"We basically have a smoldering yard-waste pile of tree limbs and leaves that is emitting smoke and no ash," said Donald Long, director of the city's solid waste management department. "We will continue to work closely with the Fire Department to monitor the pile over the next few days to ensure that it remains contained. Once the heat in the pile diminishes, we will use heavy equipment to spread out the pile, which will reduce internal heat and smoke, while significantly diminishing the possibility of any future flare-ups."

Some residents have complained about the smell coming from the fire.

Officials believe the cause of the fire was spontaneous combustion, which can naturally occur in large piles of yard waste. Spontaneous combustion results from the the breakdown of organic materials.

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