[UPDATE 7 p.m.] Compost Fire Spreads to Fence and Beyond


Fire throwing up black smoke outside of Arcata. [Photo by Bobby Kroeker]

A fire that began in a compost pile in the 1100 block of Larry Street near 11th Street in Arcata spread to a fence a little after 4 p.m. today. The fire began growing and throwing up black smoke.

Emergency personnel upgraded the debris fire to a structure fire which triggered more personnel and vehicles to respond.smoke
UPDATE 4:30 p.m.: The fire spread to an outbuilding before crews could contain it.

UPDATE 7 p.m.: Press release from Arcata Fire:

Firefighters dealing with mop up.At approximately 4:20 P.M., Arcata Fire District was dispatched to a compost bin fire in the 1100 block of Larry Avenue. First arriving units had difficulty making access the fire. Engine 8215 was able to attack the fire from 11th Street, while Engine 8216 attacked the fire from Larry Avenue and Engine 8211 attacked the fire from Sandra Court. All crews found active fire in all three locations. Ultimately, the fire involved fencing between five different residences and one shed. The fire was contained and extinguished within 15 minutes of arrival.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is suspected to be spontaneous combustion from the compost pile.

Arcata Fire District responded with three engines and two chief officers. Humboldt Bay Fire responded with one engine and one chief officer to provide District coverage as well as Blue Lake Fire Volunteer Department who responded with one engine.


One comment

  • Honeydew Bridge Chump

    I’ve grown gardens in hay bales with great success.
    Ammonium nitrate is added and watered in to start the composting cycle.
    You keep the bales wet and split your pound of N between two applications a week apart.
    Before planting you ad the P & K , water in and plant three days later.
    These type of medium yield large results!

    Well, one time I burned down a hoop from not keeping it wet enough. Those bales of hay cooked off real hard, just luck there was nothing around it to spread. I was out a dozen bales of hay, some fert, and water.

    It did teach me a powerful lesson regarding compost fires.

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