FIRE crews who have been working 24/7 to tackle a deep-seated fire at a Dewsbury waste site could be needed for another three weeks.
And they have admitted: We cannot leave it to burn out.
The fire broke out at the site in Ravenswharfe Road, Scout Hill, on February 7 and has been smouldering away ever since.
The fire service could not afford to let the fire burn itself out due to the proximity of local houses and industrial premises.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Steve Beckley, the West Yorkshire brigade’s director of operations, said: “A large rubbish fire may appear trivial but due to its location, and in the interests of public safety, we have had to be there around the clock.
“Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of lifesaving equipment may be tied up for weeks, but we will be there supporting the local community for as long as it takes.”
Three fire engines and an aerial appliance are typically there each day.
Fire chiefs have warned that there are concerns the equipment is tied up at the waste site when it may be needed for vital work elsewhere.
There are estimated to be many hundreds of tons of accumulated rubbish at the site, which is meant to be a waste transfer station.
Environment Agency officials have suspended the site’s licence and are working to try and help move some of the waste to another temporary site.
Mr Beckley paid tribute to his staff for working long hours in dirty and difficult conditions, and also praised the Environment Agency and Kirklees Council for their help in removing some of the waste and finding a temporary holding area.
“If we couldn’t move excess rubbish and work more effectively we could be there for months,” he said.
Local residents have voiced fears about huge rats, dispersed from the site because of the fire. They are worried they will target their homes in adjoining streets.