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Firefighters slowly make progress at Lismore recycling centre fire

Published: 14th August 2019

Firefighters are slowly making progress in extinguishing a fire burning in nine large compost piles at a recycling centre in Lismore.

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighters are working with Lismore City Council to safely extinguish the smouldering fire at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre in Wyrallah Rd, using heavy machinery to pull the piles of compost apart.

FRNSW Acting Duty Commander Trent Brown said five bulk water carriers were being utilised to resupply water for firefighting operations.

“Now that the strong winds have subsided, the compost piles are being turned and saturated with water,” he said. “It is slow and labour-intensive work. We’re making some progress today, but it is likely to be a number of days or even weeks before we can fully extinguish the fire.”

The fire, which started on Sunday morning, was quickly contained by emergency services but the compost piles continue to smoulder.

There are currently nine large compost piles that are smouldering and producing smoke.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is working with FRNSW and Lismore City Council to address the impact of the fire on waste management and air quality.

Warnings remain in place for residents that can smell or see smoke to stay indoors with windows and doors closed or use a respirator if venturing outside.

“Smoke from the fire could potentially be harmful to people with respiratory or lung problems, and warnings remain in place for residents that can smell or see smoke to stay indoors with windows and doors closed until the smoke subsides or use a respirator outside,” Lismore City Council’s Executive Director of Infrastructure Services, Gary Murphy said.

“People with asthma who can see or smell smoke can collect free respirators at the Bunnings trade desk by showing ID with a residential address within or around Lismore.”