Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) has a fire under control that started March 31 in the compost area of Bluff Road Solid Waste Management Facility, 6001 Bluff Road. The fire is contained to a pile of leaves waiting to be processed into compost. The composting site is located on an asphalt surface one-half mile northeast of the landfill.
Public Works and Utilities (PWU) and LFR are monitoring the situation and responding as needed to ensure public safety. Residents may continue to see smoke throughout the week and are encouraged to exercise caution if in the area.
"Extinguishing the fire is our top priority for the health and safety of our employees, patrons and community," said Donna Garden, Assistant Director of Utilities. "PWU is working with LFR to identify the safest and most cost-effective ways to extinguish the fire as quickly possible."
Garden said the fire started because of heat generated during the natural biological decomposition of the organic materials at the site. Smoke from the fire is mainly affecting areas near the landfill. According to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD), there is no immediate public health risk related to the fire. LLCHD is monitoring the situation and will notify the public if conditions change.
"Everyone, especially those with respiratory or heart disease, should avoid breathing smoke-filled air," said Gary Bergstrom, Air Quality Supervisor for LLCHD. "When the tiny particles and gases in smoke are breathed into the lungs, they can cause asthma attacks, worsen chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and cause angina (chest pain) in some people with heart disease."
Waverly Fire and Rescue, Raymond Fire and Rescue, LFR and Nebraska Air National Guard responded to the initial report Saturday.