Firefighters struggle to put out smoky burn at Bali’s Suwung landfill, cause still under investigation

A fire broke out at Suwung landfill in South Denpasar on Sept. 24, 2018. Photo:  @bayuantara via Info Denpasar
A fire broke out at Suwung landfill in South Denpasar on Sept. 24, 2018. Photo: @bayuantara via Info Denpasar

The cause of a smoky fire that broke at Bali’s Suwung landfill on Monday is still under investigation.

The fire, which is believed to have started around 12:15pm on Monday afternoon, sent billowing columns of thick gray smoke high up into the air and across Denpasar and Badung.

 

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At the moment, there are three main suspected causes of the fire, according to the head of Denpasar City Waste Management and Hazardous and Toxic Waste, I Ketut Adi Wiguna.

The first is a methane gas explosion, the second is a cigarette butt, and the third main working theory is from glass heating up after being exposed to light—like a magnifying glass effect.

But again, these are just theories at this time.

“I can’t confirm the cause,” Wiguna concluded.

The landfill previously burned in 2017, but that fire wasn’t so big—a larger fire at the landfill was in 2015.

Precautions have since been taken to prevent trash fires, says Wiguna. Smoking is not permitted at the landfill and notices have been posted.

“First, we put up a bulletin board to educate the public. There are many scavengers in this area. Smoking is not permissible. On the board, it’s written, ‘It’s forbidden to smoke at the landfill,’” Wiguna said, as quoted by Tribun Bali.

South Denpasar Police Chief Comr. Nyoman Wirajaya said the fire originated in the wet waste area of the landfill.

 

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“The source of the fire was in the wet waste area. It happened around 12:30pm,” he told Tribun Bali.

The wet waste section is the newest disposal area in the Suwung landfill area, according to the chief.

Putting out the fire has proven extremely difficult, because of the rapid rate at which it spread: it was already about an area of nine hectares, as of writing time. Yesterday’s hot weather also apparently played a part in the ease at which the fire spread. 

 

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“The cause is unknown. It’s difficult because it’s nine hectares,” the police chief repeated.

The fire department is using excavators to dig trenches around the garbage fire as their strategy to contain it and then put it out, says Wirajaya.


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