Firefighters battle landfill burns

NANAIMO – Hot weather possible trigger for minor fires at Nanaimo Regional Landfill.

Hot weather might have helped heat up garbage heaps at Nanaimo Regional Landfill where firefighters tackled three small fires.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue was called out by landfill security staff July 1 shortly before 6 p.m. to put out what Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer, described as a minor fire on the face of one of the landfill’s exposed refuse piles.

Firefighters were called back July 2 to douse a fire near the location of the first fire.

“I’m sure it was from the first one, but it was burning underneath the surface,” Mond said.

Landfill staff assisted firefighters by excavating the pile to make sure the fire location was thoroughly soaked, but a stubborn smoulder in a mattress required a third visit from fire crews shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday.

“There was a ratty, old, garbage mattress and it flared up last night (Wednesday),” Mond said.

Mond said all three fires were minor in nature, but it is unknown what started the initial fire.

Fires are rare at the landfill, but can occur in hot, dry weather.

“We don’t have them all the time,” Mond said. “They’re really good at what they do out there, but the sudden spike in the weather, I’m sure, helped.”

One fire was reported at the landfill in August 2010 and one in July 2012. None were major fires and the facility does have built-in fire suppression systems.