According to the Bella Vista Fire Department, heavy equipment has been brought to the Trafalgar Road fire site and will be used on Thursday (Jan. 24) to start digging a trench on the far south end of the fire site.
The trench will be near the paved storage facility area to prevent the fire from spreading in that area.
Bella Vista Fire Chief Steve Sims says the fire could be burning more than 50 feet (15 meters) underground. The issue was first discovered after firefighters were dispatched to the site in July.
State health officials declared the air around the property ‘unhealthy’ and urged residents to avoid prolonged exposure to the area.
A widely used industrial chemical, benzene was detected at .022 parts-per-million within the boundaries of the former stump dump.
Benzene can cause serious health effects if “a person is exposed to it either in high doses (a lot of it) or over a long amount of time,” according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH).
ADEQ has set up a website to track the progress of the fire.