FIRE CONTROL: A Fire & Rescue NSW crew from Lismore use a ground monitor to direct water onto the massive smouldering compost piles at the Lismore Recovery & Recycling Centre.
FIRE CONTROL: A Fire & Rescue NSW crew from Lismore use a ground monitor to direct water onto the massive smouldering compost piles at the Lismore Recovery & Recycling Centre. F&R NSW A.Duty Com. Trent Brown

8000 litres of water a minute to be blasted at tip fire

FIREFIGHTERS combating an ongoing smouldering compost fire at the Lismore Recovery and Recycling Centre will soon be supported by some serious equipment.

Fire & Rescue NSW have organised delivery of a Hytrans bulk water transfer unit, which can handle up to 8000 litres per minute.

This intensive flow will allow a greater capacity for water to be projected across the site on the 10m high mulch piles using water canons.

Acting duty commander and incident controller, Trent Brown, said they expected the Hytrans equipment to arrive the site by 4pm today.

"The Hytrans equipment is being driven up from Sydney and comes with two specialist crew who will train our local firefighters to use it throughout the incident,” he said.

"We will utilise ground monitors to provide coverage to the site on the fireground, which will assist in combating the fire and also in the short time reduce smoke on the site.

"The local EPA (Environment Protection Agency) have given their approval to draft and use water from the treatment plant next door to be released and pumped for fire-fighting purposes.”

Mr Brown said the Hytrans unit will allow crews to more quickly extinguish the fire.

Mulch self-combusted on the site around 1am on Sunday due to a combination of heat generated by the composting process, strong winds and low humidity.

"There's 35,000 tonnes of compost spread over an area of approximately 120m x 80m and separated into nine main piles each around 10m high,” Mr Brown said.

A safety management plan has been formed by F&R NSW, Lismore City Council and the EPA.

Mr Brown said the Hytrans unit would an improvement on the ground canons currently employed by firefighters.

"At this stage we have five firefighters and one appliance at the site,” he said.

"Heavy plant equipment is also being utilised with council providing three excavators, one bulldozer and five bulk water carriers.”

Mr Brown said retained firefighters are on duty at Lismore and Goonellabah fire stations to ensure protection of the town and surrounds is maintained.



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