SCOTTSBORO, Ala. – A brush pit fire in Scottsboro has been burning for days.
Fire crews were alerted to the fire at the Scottsboro city brush pit off of Highway 35 more than a week ago. It more than likely started by spontaneous combustion.
“It’s burning underneath,” said Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus, “We can’t get water to all of it. There’s no way to do that with the amount of water it would take.”
The fire is contained to an old rock quarry, which is surrounded by walls of solid rock, making for some good news: the fire isn’t a threat to nearby homes.
The large pit is filled with at least ten years worth of natural material – leaves, sticks, and stumps. The smoke from the smoldering debris is apparent to nearby homes. “It is a burden,” Necklaus said, “I understand that it’s certainly an aggravation for the people in the neighborhoods around. I sympathize with that, and I just really ask them to be patient with us because we’re working every day, as hard as we can, to try to eliminate this issue.”
“We’re working to isolate the areas that are burning from the areas that may not be burning underneath,” he added, “That’s happening with heavy equipment, mostly.”
Crews are hoping to reduce the fuel size so they can get some water to it, or, expedite the burning process.
The going is slow because they have to work in periods. The heat is too much to handle over an extended time for the operators and the equipment.
On top of that, the equipment available isn’t made for the magnitude of the job. Necklaus said they consulted with forestry officials to determine the best route to handle the fire.
They’re also looking at what can be changed for future debris.
“If we can come up with a plan to eliminate that on a monthly, semi-monthly basis during the clean-up seasons, then we won’t have this problem again,” Necklaus said.