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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Fire breaks out at landfill near Fairchild

A fire on a landfill near Fairchild Air Force Base sent heavy smoke into the air May 5, 2019, Sunday, morning. The state Department of Health has been notified and is expected to investigate its cause. (KHQ)
From staff reports

A fire on a landfill near Fairchild Air Force Base sent heavy smoke into the air Sunday morning.

Firefighters from the district and the base responded at about 4: 30 a.m. to a report about the smoke and put out the blaze in about four hours with water and foam using about 12 trucks and fire engines. No one was injured and no evacuation of homes was necessary in the sparsely populated area west of Airway Heights, said Nick Scharff, fire chief of Spokane County Fire District 10.

The Washington Department of Health, which issues permits for landfills, has been notified to examine the reasons for the fire, which covered about a 100-by-200-square foot area, he said.

It is unclear what caused the fire, Scharff said. This is the fourth fire so far this year at the Graham Road Landfill, which is operated by Waste Management, Scharff said.

Earlier fires were attributed to a reaction between moisture and industrial waste, with a layer of compacted dirt over the top that created heat; this particular fire was in a different location than the previous ones and it burned near some equipment, so the cause of this fire is not necessarily similar, he said.

“We don’t know at this point what the cause was, it is still under investigation,” he said.

Waste Management crews were out Sunday with a water truck to identify any potential hot spots, he said.