The Iowa City Landfill is once again open to the public following a series of fire-extinguishing efforts.
The “stir, burn, and cover” operation that began June 4, which started by stoking the flames to accelerate the consumption of fuel, ended Sunday as the smoldering remains were covered by a layer of clay.
The tires are expected to burn beneath the layer of clay for at least a few days, and during the time city officials are directing their efforts on containment.
“It could be several weeks,” Geoff Fruin, assistant to Iowa City manager Tom Markus, said Monday. “We’ll monitor the temperatures below the surface. We’ll be able to see any continued burning through surface burning or smoke that breaks the cap.”
The landfill may still occasionally produce smoke, and fire crews will remain on-site to monitor the situation, but no large plumes or flare ups are expected.
The City of Iowa City released an update yesterday concerning the ongoing fire at the Iowa City Landfill.
The city advised residents in the path of the smoke plume to avoid exposure – particularly those who have conditions which could be aggravated by the smoke. Various organizations including the Johnson County Health Department, the State Hygienic Laboratory, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources continue to monitor the region’s air quality.
Additionally, the Iowa City Fire Department is planning to conduct a operation known as “stir, burn and cover,” in which they will stir the burning tires to accelerate the consumption of remaining fuel sources and then cover the remains in a layer of clay soil to suppress the fire.
For more information, read the full City of Iowa City press release, and check out a live webcam of the fire, here.
Researchers at the Iowa Flood Center are crossing their fingers that the Iowa City Landfill fire wont affect one of their sensors.
One of their mobile weather radar units is located at the landfill. So far it has avoided damage, but the Iowa Flood Center engineers will continue to monitor the situation closely. The radar provides rainfall intensity data for the Clear Creek watershed.
The Iowa Flood Center plans to clean the radar once the fire is extinguished.
Read more about the radar from the Iowa Flood Center’s website here.
Read a question and answer interview about the Iowa City landfill here. The interview explains the environmental concerns involved, and why it might be best to let the fire extinguish on its own.