Stump dump steaming hot
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.
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.