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Hidden or rapid fire growth

Hazard Knowledge

Due to the nature of the materials involved in waste site fires, when highly flammable materials or materials that burn easily are present, firespread can be rapid and accelerated. Weather conditions such as strong winds and hot dry summers will also have an impact on the speed at which the materials burn.

Depending on the material being recycled, stacks of baled waste up to five metres in height can cover an extensive area of a site. The density and condensed nature of the bales affect the speed at which fire will spread or burn through them.

On landfill sites, deep-seated fires can burn unnoticed for weeks or months, creating large underground voids within the site.

Sites may have specialist equipment such as heat probes, which may prove useful in detecting deep-seated fires. Use site employees to operate specialist equipment.