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Mulch fire expected to burn for days

Blaze under control; no homes threatened

POSTED: September 25, 2012 12:23 p.m.
 

A fire at a south Forsyth mulch site likely will continue to burn for days, authorities said Tuesday.

“There are many more days ahead of this fire continuing to burn or smolder and produce smoke,” said Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers. “The fire is burning very intensely.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, smoke continued to rise from the blaze, which began about 3 a.m. Monday at Cowart Mulch Products on Shiloh Road.

According to Shivers, it took crews nearly six hours to contain the fire to a 50-foot tall, 1-acre pile of mulch product.

Shivers said the flames did not spread to neighboring homes or property, nor were surrounding structures ever in danger.

The fire was limited to the much pile, which he described as different from the completed mulch products found at garden centers.

The site contained logs, stumps, limbs and organic tree debris that would have been ground into mulch.

The cause of the fire appears to be natural, according to Shivers.

“We are confident that the fire was purely a result of natural organic combustion,” he said.

“In the fall, with the warm, dry days and cool, moist evenings, these piles will produce their own internal heat and in doing so, at some point, can often times spontaneously combust. And we’re confident that’s exactly what’s happened in this case.”

Fire crews remained at the scene until 8 p.m. Monday, when they turned over the pile to staff at Cowart Mulch Products, who have continued to monitor and maintain the situation.

Shivers said staff from Fire Stations 2 and 14 have been conducting periodic checks to ensure the fire remains under control.

Motorists traveling along Ga. 400 near the McFarland and Shiloh roads area should expect to see smoke in the area for days.

But if they or nearby residents “see smoke in their immediate area, and especially any reports of brush fires, immediately call 911 and let us respond and confirm that there’s no danger posed,” Shivers said.

 

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