How the Lismore tip fire may have started
LISMORE is covered in smoke today, as the fire at the tip continues to smoulder.
The blaze at the Wyrallah Rd recycling and recovery centre in East Lismore started over the weekend and while the flames have been extinguished, compost piles are still smouldering and sending smoke across the city.
The tip is still closed to the public.
NSW Fire & Rescue is on site and, according to Lismore City Council, managing the process to agitate the compost stockpiles and saturate them with water to extinguish the smouldering.
This morning the council took to Facebook to post information about the compost piles and how the fire possibly started.
"Council collects around 1600 tonnes of organic material per month from the Northern Rivers region," the council posted.
"Council has an aeration system that automatically releases oxygen into the compost piles.
"These are turned once every three weeks to ensure even distribution of heat throughout the piles.
"The nature of composting organic materials is that it's a heat-generating decomposition process - this is what breaks down the organic materials into compost.
"To produce compost it is necessary to maintain temperatures above 55 degrees for a minimum of 15 consecutive days to eliminate pathogens.
"It is not uncommon at times for temperatures to reach 80 degrees Celsius or above.
"Council has a sprinkler system and a permanent water truck on site which are used to keep the piles moist.
"Steam from the compost piles is often visible.
"The pile that we believe caught alight was exposed to low humidity, strong winds and gusty conditions for an extended period of time, which is believed to have led to moisture loss within the upper levels of the compost piles, causing spontaneous combustion of matter.
"Council believes this created embers which passed to other compost piles and eventually to stockpiles of plastic and paper.
Meanwhile, a bushfire along Clearfield Rd, south of Rappville, is also still burning.
The NSW RFS Northern Rivers Zone said the northern most part of fire was burning near Myrtle Creek Rd and Clearfield Rd and has crossed Summerland Way to the east.
Firefighters are continuing to consolidate containment lines on the eastern side of the fire.
"Crews are working with aircraft including the Large Air Tanker and heavy machinery to build containment lines on the south eastern and southern flanks," the RFS posted on its Facebook page.
"Motorists are reminded to drive to the conditions as firefighters are continuing to work from the roadside edge and smoke may restrict driver visibility periodically."