HARTSELLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A brush fire at a landfill has been sending smoke billowing over Hartselle for weeks.
City officials say the fire is burning deep within the brush pile, so water alone cannot put out the fire.
People who live nearby say they are not happy about the smell, or the smoke.
“The smoke has been coming through my vents. It creates a layer of smoke at the top of my ceiling,” said Hartselle resident Lauri Boardman.
Boardman says she had to buy an air purifier because smoke from a brush fire at the City of Hartselle Landfill is creeping inside her home.
“They should be doing their job by providing the necessary equipment to take care of the mulch fire that’s at the city dump,” Boardman said.
In a statement provided to WAFF, Hartselle Mayor Randy Garrison wrote that a pile of brush spontaneously caught fire on Feb. 13, and is still burning.
Residents say you can smell the fire all over town, and some of them are frustrated.
“We had no clue what was going on. We got up one morning and there was a haze all across that side of town,” said Hartselle resident Leigh Frances.
Garrison says only natural items are on fire and no hazardous materials. He says the brush pile contains pieces of trees, limbs, and more that were picked up from homes or brought in by citizens.
All those materials are usually ground into mulch.
“It’s like a dirty ashtray, it’s sickening to your stomach,” Boardman said.
“You can’t go outside, you can’t open your windows cause your whole house will smell like a fire pit and it’s just hard to breathe,” Frances said.
“Public health and safety is key. I’m a lung cancer survivor so this really hits home with me,” Hartselle resident Melissa Bright said.
Garrison wrote that the city has been closely monitoring the fire since it started.
He also said the city has been working with the Alabama Department of Environmental Quality on ways to contain the flames.
According to Garrison, it may take until next week before city employees will be able to completely put out the fire.
He also said the city recently purchased a state-of-the-art incinerator to dispose of these types of materials in the future in a manner that is friendly to the environment.