The fire on the Chamness Technology compost site is burning through shrubs and shredded trees that were gathered following last summer’s derecho. The DNR’s Kurt Levetzow has a theory on how the fire started.
“The fire (may have) started in a log pile that was on site that was yet to be ground up and chipped into a mulch product, which is a necessary component for composting like what Chamness does,” he says.
Wood chips soak up moisture and aid the composting process. “There appears to have been an excess amount of that derecho shredded waste brought on site, stockpiled,” he says. “Effectively, that’s what’s smoldering; surficial burning.”
No one has been injured by the fire. There was a similar fire at the Chamness facility this past May. Leachate produced by that fire ran off into nearby Palestine Creek. Levetzow says there’s been no runoff associated with this weeks’ fire.
The amount of smoke and fire at the site had been reduced by Wednesday afternoon, but there are some hot spots still burning.
(By Joe Lancello, KBOE, Oskaloosa)