Mulch Fire at Knoll Road

TMRFB_Green_Waste_Dump_Sept2010_800x521At 0755 on Sunday morning 19th September a page came to turn out, K30, to a fire at the green waste dump at Knoll Road. Kim was there early in her own car at 0800 followed by the Auxiliaries at 0815. Peter Mason was IC. Neville, Geoff and Andy were the first Rural truck on scene with TM52 and they were joined by Robbo in his own vehicle. Nev and Robbo then brought TM51. Tony was on base radio. John H (TM1) came in his own vehicle.

This was the usual problem with mulch – spontaneous combustion had set in. The Council’s big Cat shovel was in action reducing the height of part of the pile and allowing water to be sprayed to cool the burning mulch. TM52 worked at the north end of the stack to douse the smoking material and prevent it spilling into the forest as the shovel dug it out. The whole job went very well with the customary excellent cooperation between Auxiliary and Rural Brigades. Shortly after 0900 we made up and TM52 went to re-water at Holt Road. Done and dusted at the Station by 0930 – or so we thought.

Come 1542 and there was another page, for our Brigade only, to a ‘re-ignition’ of the mulch. This was merely a further exposure of the on-going slow combustion inside the deep pile. Barry and Mal P were there first with TM52 and quickly started work with the loader driver to move and wet down the smoking material. Kim and Keith soon came in their own cars while John H (TM1), Nev and Robbo arrived in TM51. Tony was on Base Radio.

The attached map shows the situation with the loose green waste to the right hand side (east) of the dump area and the mulch to the left (north-west) side. John wisely decided to create a fire barrier to cordon the mulch on its north and west flanks.. This was done using the digger to cut the track back to bare earth where it could go (yellow on the map) and rake hoeing a 30 metre long by 2 metre wide chip line (orange on the map) where the digger could not get access. An excellent line was cut to bare earth.

Keith watered down the exposed mulch until it was quite inert. We arranged for various members present to monitor the site at 2100, 2400, 0300 and 0600 respectively. John phoned the Council’s Solid Waste Manager who undertook to visit first thing on Monday. We made up, TM52 re-watered at Holt Road and TM51 returned to the Station. Later in the evening rain set in so no monitoring was needed. Another good response by the Brigade.

Posted in Incident Reports