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Irene debris still burning

A pile a little before dawn Wednesday morning. —Heather Burford photo

UPDATED WEDNESDAY, 7:45 a.m. — The fire at the debris piles at the Transfer Station are still burning, and there is no estimate of when they will be finally extinguished.

“We will be back out there today to move the remaining pile while wetting it down,” Fire Chief Heather Burford said this morning. “Not sure when the fire will be completely out, but the real resolution is to have the debris moved off site or broken down on site.”

“This gives you an idea of how deep-seeded these fires are,” said Chief Burford, who took this picture Wednesday morning of a hole in the mulch pile of Irene storm debris.

UPDATED Sunday, 8:30 a.m. — Fire and highway crews were still battling the mulch and pile blazes past midnight this morning.

“Slowly the debris piles are being pulled apart by heavy machinery while the fire departments wets down hot spots,” Chief Heather Burford reported at 12:44 a.m.

“The fires are deep in the piles and high winds are sending embers flying several hundred feet. Unfortunately a large pile of stumps was set ablaze by embers earlier Saturday; Georgetown assisted with this part of the operation.”

The piles were mostly decomposing debris from Hurricane Irene last year.

“The department has received numerous calls for the odor of smoke and the sight of smoke, mostly in the southeast part of Town,” Chief Burford said.

There have also been reports of water pressure problems because of the large amount being poured on the fire from hydrants at the transfer station.

“The fire department has worked closely with Aquarion Water to monitor water pressures throughout the center of Town and the water level in main feed tanks,” the chief said. “Aquarion has received complaints of low water pressures although the issue is resolving as the night progresses.”

She added, “No injuries, just lots of tired folks hoping desperately to be done by Christmas.”

Firefighters battle the mulch pile fire early Saturday afternoon. —Thomas B. Nash photo

UPDATED Saturday, 11:30 a.m.— The mulch pile fire is getting worse, and additional fire personnel and equipment are being called in.

Fire Chief Heather Burford late this morning summoned three additional trucks from Ridgefield, and asked for an aerial ladder truck from Georgetown to help with pouring water on the blaze.

The transfer station may be shut down to allow all the trucks access to the fire.

Smoke is visible over a good part of the center.

School bus company personnel moved some buses that may have been threatened by the fire. —Thomas B. Nash photo

Friday, 5:30 p.m. — A mulch pile near the town transfer station has been ablaze this evening.

A fire in the pile was first reported around 6:30 Thursday morning by a school bus driver going to work.

The mulch pile near the town transfer station, burning late Friday afternoon. —Heather Burford

Firefighters responded then, but needed help from the highway department to break up the huge pile. The fire was thought to be knocked down.

Apparently in the late afternoon, despite all the rain, the fire rekindled.

“The pile has been estimated at 40,000 cubic yards,” said Fire Chief Heather Burford late this afternoon. “25% is involved in fire. “

She added, “This pile has probably been burning for several months deep inside. It’s just finally broken through with the wind.”

She predicted it “will be a long overhaul operation.”

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  • Big Bones McGee

    What a terrible waste of resources required to extinguishthis blaze. Mulch piles, particularly large ones, are universally recognized as fire hazards. Where was the Fire Chief on this?

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