WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A large plume of smoke lifted into the air in Weld County on Wednesday afternoon. The smoke is coming from at least seven piles of tires which caught fire at a recycling center.
Officials say a piece of equipment caught fire which spread to the tires.
Crews on the ground are working to build a mound of dirt around the piles so it does not spread. Officials say they have some containment, but will need to keep working to gain more.
“We’re creating a berm around the fire to contain it. We’re using existing dirt and we’re bringing in dirt to help contain that fire from spreading,” said Matt Concialdi, spokesman for the Platteville-Gilcrest Fire Protection District.
Interestingly, Fort Lupton Fire officials say this is the same site where a tire fire occurred in 1987. That fire burned for days.
“Tires burn fast, they burn hot,” Concialdi said. “In true Colorado fashion, we got wind swirling around. We got a thunderstorm that just rolled through, and then we had changing wind directions. So our crews are battling that.”
Officials told CBS4’s Karen Morfitt they are reviewing attack strategies from 1987 to help determine the best course of action now.
At least 11 agencies, and more than 40 firefighters, have responded. There are no reports of injuries. No evacuations have been ordered. One structure was threatened, but is safe again, officials say.
Heavy fire activity in the area of CR 26 and CR 41. Tire mountain is on fire. Please avoid the area as numerous fire apparatus responding. This will be a prolonged incident.
— Fort Lupton Fire (@FLFPD) July 23, 2020
Officials called this an “prolonged incident.” The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is monitoring the air quality.
Residents in the area who have weakened immune systems are urged to close their windows, or stay somewhere else if possible.