13 April 2015
Fire crews around the country have been embroiled in tackling waste fires over the last few weeks.
In Yorkshire, a fire broke out at an industrial waste and recycling site near Wath Upon Dearne.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue sent out five fire engines to tackle the blaze, including an industrial unit and crews from nearby stations.
On arrival, it was established that although there were two 'hot spots' in which material was smoking, there was no physical fire.
The smoke subsided after crews doused the fire.
An investigation from the companny found that the smoke was emanating from cigarette waste that had been brought in via a skip.
Elsewhere, crews in Essex were called to a recycling site blaze after around 60 tonnes of mixed household waste caught alight.
On arrival at the site crews found around 20 per cent of the 300 tonnes of waste on site to be alight.
Nobody was injured and the fire was quelled after using four jets to dampen it.
And finally, a 6,000 tonne pile of compost and wood chippings set fire in Ramsey Heights, Cambridgeshire, requiring the intervention of five fire engines.
Fire crews sourced water from a nearby lake and evacuated nearby farms as strong winds hampered conditions.
The prevention of waste fires has been under the spotlight over the last few months.
The Environment Agency published a leaflet outlining the common causes of waste fires and giving a checklist of actions to be taken to reduce risks.
In addition, Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH) issued new guidance for waste and recycling sites to provide information about reducing risks.
This was compiled with input from industry bodies and with the backing of the Chief Fire Officers Association.
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.
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