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Compost fire - St Ives - Huntingdonshire

Update - Monday February 11

It's been a challenging few weeks for all involved in the fire at Envar Composting near St Ives. We're pleased to confirm that the fire is now out.

We'd like to thank those affected by the incident for their patience and understanding while work has been carried out.

Watch the latest update from Station Commander Carl Pardon Below:

Update - Thursday January 24

Staff at Envar Composting continue to work with and be advised by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Environment Agency to tackle the ongoing fire. Until this week the fire has been managed and controlled in line with the site fire plan using the available space available. The pile of compost that is burning covers a large area and the size of the site has meant there isn’t enough space to safely manoeuvre the stacks.

On Tuesday work began to offensively tackle the fire, which involves digging small piles out of the stacks using heavy machinery and covering it in water, then moving it to a safe area. This is now possible as there is enough space to move the safe compost away from the fire. Although we all hope to have the fire extinguished as quickly as possible, this isn’t a fast process. The current estimate from the site is around 10-15 days based on current conditions, however all attempts are being made to extinguish this as quickly as is possible. Fire crews will be making regular visits to the site.

We are all aware that this is not an ideal situation. The smoke and the odour are unpleasant for all the residents that have been impacted. The weather conditions have also not helped the situation as staff cannot operate heavy machinery safely when smoke and steam is limiting visibility.

While efforts are made to extinguish the fire, smoke and steam will still be generated from the site and may impact the surrounding area. Please be aware of this and take the necessary precautions of keeping doors and windows closed as required to reduce the impact. Those with any health concerns should discuss the concerns with their local GP, or use the NHS non-emergency number 111.

Environment Agency staff will continue working with the site operator to understand the circumstances of the fire, assessing compliance with the environmental waste permit.

Update - Tuesday January 8

The fire at Envar Composting is continuing to burn out under the supervision of onsite staff, along with crews from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Environment Agency. It is anticipated that this will continue for the next seven to ten days.

The site is a regulated waste site with the Environment Agency and, as part of their environmental waste permit, is required to have a fire prevention plan in place. The plan sets out the fire prevention measures and procedures that must be put in place and used on site should there be a fire. CFRS and the Environment Agency are working with the site staff to make sure that is being followed.

The operations being used to tackle the fire remain the same. Due to the size of the fire and the proximity of the stacks, firefighting has proved to be challenging but progress does continue to be made.

It’s appreciated that the conditions have been unpleasant for those living in affected areas. Not helped by the weather, with low cloud cover and no wind the smoke and the odour has not been dispersed. The plume direction is being regularly monitored by staff from all agencies.

Residents that are affected by the smoke are advised to keep their doors and windows closed to help reduce any impact. People with existing health problems like asthma may find the smoke can worsen their symptoms and should carry their inhaler with them at all times. Anyone with health concerns should contact their local GP or call NHS 111

Photos can be found on the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service Flickr Page.

Update - Monday December 31

On Monday (31) at 6.08pm, a crew from Huntingdon was called to a fire at Envar Composting near St Ives.

Firefighters arrived to find a compost heap measuring around 20m by 10m, well alight.

The crew left the scene as the fire was left to burn out under the supervision of site staff.

On Wednesday (2) the fire developed, and we increased our presence onsite.

The fire was affecting 4500 square meters, involving approximately 3000 tonnes of waste.

Residents and motorists in the immediate area were advised to keep doors and windows closed due to the smoke and odour. Road users were advised to drive carefully around the area, due to thick smoke.