Moves to bring Thoby Lane blaze to conclusion
This week - weather permitting - Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will be taking steps to accelerate burning at the timber recycling site in Thoby Lane, which has been ablaze since August 18.
Firefighters continue to maintain a constant presence at the Mountnessing site, allowing the large fire to burn itself out safely while keeping a watchful eye to ensure that the blaze does not spread to adjacent businesses.
The key concerns for ECFRS have been to prevent the fire escalating, preventing the spread of fire to surrounding businesses and reducing any impact on the environment in the neighbouring community .
“The fire has now reduced by over 60% and in conjunction with our partners, Brentwood Borough Council and the Environment Agency consideration is now being given to using mechanical machinery to create a fire break around the outside of the fire and also to aerate the wood pile to encourage more burning now that some areas of the wood pile have compacted,” explained Senior Divisional Officer Bob Wahl, who has overseen fire service activities on site since the blaze first began.
“While it is anticipated this will create a higher volume of smoke for a short period of time, it will assist firefighters in bringing this incident to a swifter conclusion.
“I am very grateful for the professionalism and persistence of our firefighters in dealing with this incident over such an extended time and the patience and understanding of the local community and businesses. We are acutely aware of the impact this fire has had on the community, as we continue to work together to minimise the impact of this fire.”
With the support of partner agencies, ECFRS anticipates starting the work on October 17. It is likely to take four to five days to complete, depending on the weather and the way to wood pile reacts once disrupted.
External contractors will bring in mechanical diggers and work under the guidance of the Service to effectively create a moat around the burning wood pile. The cost of the operation will be around £16,000 and will be met by the Fire Authority. “When balanced against our ongoing resource commitment and disruption to the local community, the expenditure is considered to be essential in attempting to bring this incident to a close,” said SDO Wahl.