Fire at waste site in Northumberland sparks warnings

Fire crews were yesterday spending their fifth day dealing with a blaze at a garden waste recycling site in Northumberland

Fire crews deal with the blaze at the former Harecrag landfill site
Fire crews deal with the blaze at the former Harecrag landfill site

Fire crews were yesterday spending their fifth day dealing with a blaze at a garden waste recycling site in Northumberland.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service was at the Harecrag site near Alnwick where a large pile of garden refuse has been burning since Tuesday.

The fire has caused large plumes of smoke to blow across the adjacent A1, reducing drivers’ visibility and sparking a safety warning from police.

Officers last night said it would be “some time” before the blaze, the cause of which has yet to be established, is put out.

The fire service was first alerted to the fire in garden refuse at Com-vert Earth Resource Centre, at Dene Moor, near Shilbottle, at 7.40pm on Tuesday.

Crews from Alnwick and Amble have been at the scene – a former SITA landfill site – “on and off” since then, a spokeswoman said, along with Northumbria Police.

The fire has sent smoke billowing across the A1 with one motorist saying last night: “It was absolutely terrifying.

“It was like thick pea soup going across the road. You could not see. The visibility was very poor within the vicinity of the tip.”

A high volume pump has been deployed by fire crews, which can carry the water reserves of six regular engines, while ground monitors have been used.

Crews yesterday managed to isolate the fire in one area of refuse, only for the wind to blow lit waste from there onto an uneffected area, causing that to catch fire.

The fire service last night said that the cause of the blaze has yet to be established. “It is obviously a very deep seated fire, which is the issue with it,” a spokesperson said.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “Police are advising motorists to reduce their speed and take extra care due to an area of reduced visibility on the A1 in Northumberland.

“A quantity of garden refuse is alight at a composting site next to the A1 near Shilbottle.

“The fire is causing smoke to blow across the road and visibility has been greatly reduced in the immediate vicinity of the site.

“Warning signs are in place to alert motorists and police are advising drivers to slow down and take extra care.

“Police and the fire service are at the scene.

“There are no toxic materials involved, and no one has been injured.

“It is believed that the fire is likely to take some time to extinguish.”

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