Guam EPA responds to fire

29 June 2012

Guam EPA, in conjunction with the Guam Fire Department, the Yigo Mayor’s Office, and Office of Civil Defense and Homeland Security, continues to respond to a deep-seated fire in Yigo.

Tuesday morning, Guam EPA was called to the scene of a deep-seeded fire near Route 15. Responders stated the fire was within a pile of solid waste that was illegally disposed of and being used as illegal fill material. The waste was located along a steep cliff area and approximately 75 feet below Route 15 in Yigo. The location of the site and nature of the fire made it difficult to completely put out the fire.

Late yesterday evening, Guam EPA was contacted by the Office of Civil Defense to respond to the area again. The ongoing fire continued to emit smoke in the area.

Guam EPA, the Yigo Mayor’s office and GFD will continue to monitor the fire and resulting smoke at the site. The mayor’s office is working to gain easier access to the base of the fire and will be assisting the affected families in the area.

Residents in the area affected by smoke are encouraged to keep their windows closed and stay indoors if possible. Drivers are asked to be cautious if there is reduced visibility in the area.

Deep-seated fires are different from the traditional fire in the sense that they do not burn with the large, open flame. Instead, deep-seeded fires are typically started when materials that decompose, create heat and are exposed to oxygen. With the addition of oxygen into the area, a fire starts burning and emits smoke. Deep-seeded fires can also be started by an open-flame at the surface burning down into an illegal dumpsite. Standards for engineering, construction and operation of landfills are created and enforced to prevent this type situation.

In 2010, Guam EPA and other government officials responded to a deep-seated fire at the Joseph Taitano illegal dumpsite. The fire was contained by smothering the area and stopping oxygen from getting to the heat source.

Residents are asked to report illegal dumpsites immediately by contacting Guam EPA or calling 475-1658/59.

For more information about this situation and the ongoing monitoring, contact Tammy Jo Anderson Taft at (671) 988-7582 or TammyJoAnderson.Taft@EPA.Guam.gov.