Six fire departments from the South Shore have been pressed into service to monitor a smouldering landfill fire in the Municipality of the District of Chester.
Fire departments from Chester, Chester Basin, Brooklyn, Hantsport, and New Ross were the first to respond to the call of a fire at the Kaizer Meadow Solid Waste Management Facility at approximately 7:00 a.m.
"An employee of the landfill noticed the smoke and flames on their way into work and immediately called 911," said Chester Volunteer Fire Chief Everett Hiltz.
As of noon, the chief said that firefighters from Lunenburg were on route to assist in keeping the fire under control.
"It wasn't a massive fire, it's mostly smoldering under the pile. There are some flames that reach the surface, but it is currently contained."
Hiltz could not comment on what the cause of the fire may have been, but he says that this type of incident is very common during the summer months.
When solid waste is first deposited in a landfill, it undergoes an aerobic (with oxygen) decomposition stage where little methane is generated. Then, typically within less than a year, anaerobic conditions are established, and methane-producing bacteria begin to decompose the waste and generate methane.
When those anaerobic gasses mix with other items in a landfill such as decaying batteries, for instance, the conditions become primed for a fire.
"We caught it early, but we will be here for a long time to ensure that the fire within the junk pile is properly extinguished," said Hiltz.
The Municipality of the District of Chester's communications officer, Jennifer Webber, told LighthouseNow that the public is asked to stay out of the area while fire crews do their work.
"The landfill is currently closed to the public and will remain so until the fire is fully extinguished," said Webber. "We will be updating the public through our website and social media channels."