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Large mulch fire in Barrow continues to burn

POSTED: August 29, 2014 11:29 a.m.

A large mulch fire that has continued to burn for more than a week could still be releasing smoke over the Labor Day weekend, according to officials with the Barrow County Emergency Services.

Just after 3 A.M. on Thursday, Aug. 22nd, communication officers with BCES received a 911 call reporting a fire in the 1100 block of Barrow Industrial Parkway.

"Firefighters responded and found a large pile of mulch burning with visible flame across the top of the pile," stated Public Information Officer Lieutenant Scott Dakin. "The fire, located a Cowart Mulch Products, was the result of natural combustion as a result of composting done on site."

Firefighters made access to the pile and started control efforts and contacted personnel with Cowart Mulch Products. Shortly after arrival personnel from the company arrived and started assisting firefighters with control efforts.

"With this type of fire extinguishment can be a lengthy process so the initial goal is containment of the fire as quickly as possible," commented Lieutenant Dakin. "With the wind and dry conditions this fire quickly spread to several other piles of mulch and yard debris so efforts went to building a fire break around the property in order to contain the fire spread."

Barrow County Emergency Services has continued monitoring the situation and has met with Chris Cowart, owner of Cowart Mulch Products to develop a plan of action.

"Personnel with Cowart's will continue to move dirt from around the pile to keep it contained for the next several days," stated Lieutenant Dakin. "We will monitor the fire throughout and sometime next week it should have lost enough energy that personnel will start to cap the piles that are burning to smother the fire. They will also be able to start tearing the piles apart without fear of embers igniting nearby properties and start working on extinguishing it completely."

"What this means is that there will continue to be smoke from the burning mulch throughout the holiday weekend," added Lieutenant Dakin. "Mr. Cowart has met with us and been in contact with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and right now all agree that this is the best possible plan. It could change if we get a significant amount of rain this weekend allowing extinguishment efforts to start sooner."



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