Stump dump steam­ing hot

The Weekly Vista - - Front Page - KEITH BRYANT

The for­mer stump dump off Trafal­gar Road con­tin­ues to smoul­der.

The fire started in early Au­gust and has been slowly burn­ing out be­cause at­tempts to fight the fire would be risky and costly.

The Ar­kan­sas De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity or­dered the prop­erty owner, Brown’s Tree Care, to cease any dump­ing ac­tiv­ity at the site. Fur­ther, the ADEQ or­dered the POA to cease dump­ing at the west side stump dump. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the ADEQ pre­vi­ously stated that the POA never ob­tained a per­mit for dump­ing ac­tiv­ity at ei­ther site.

The EPA has ob­tained air sam­ples from the area and is con­duct­ing tests to de­ter­mine if the air is dan­ger­ous, though Bella Vista com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Cassi Lapp said that the city has not re­ceived any up­dates on this process.

Cle­tus Wilkins, owner of Brown’s Tree Care, said that his firm is cur­rently spread­ing red clay to at­tempt to smother the fire.

“We’re us­ing clay. Clay is ac­cepted to be able to put that out,” he said. “We brought in a moun­tain load of clay… there’s more clay than there is logs.”

There’s less odor and less vis­i­ble smoke at this point, he said, though in cool, rainy weather it does seem to be worse.

Wilkins pre­vi­ously said that he pur­chased the lot ear­lier this year to store ve­hi­cles, but this has be­come a sig­nif­i­cant

headache and ex­pense. There are ru­mors, he said, that his firm has been dump­ing and burn­ing ad­di­tional brush. Wilkins said his work­ers have not been adding fuel to the fire and that do­ing so would be fool­ish. “The fine is $35,000 for ev­ery load, that’d be sui­cide,” he said.

On ex­am­i­na­tion of the site, no new brush was vis­i­ble to the naked eye and red clay was piled near the edges of the stump dump.

Keith Bryant/The Weekly Vista

Steam rises from the for­mer Trafal­gar stump dump dur­ing last Thurs­day’s rain. Piles of red clay sit along the edge of the for­mer dump, ready to be spread in an at­tempt to smother the slow-burn­ing fire.

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