Greenwaste pile near airport burst into flames on Sunday

Citizens continued dumping their old vehicle tires and other trash at the Lihu’e transfer station near Lihu’e Airport Sunday afternoon, while several firefighters worked to contain the nearby greenwaste fire.

Spontaneous combustion caused the huge pile to flame on, something that happens occasionally when the pile is exposed to cyclic doses of rain followed by periods of sun, said Ernie Moniz, Kaua’i Fire Department battalion chief.

There were no injuries, and the fire was quickly brought under control, though smoke rising from the pile could be seen from all over the Eastside.

County Department of Public Works employees were cleaning up the area yesterday.

The pile had grown because the county’s sole greenwaste shredder was out of service, said Troy Tanigawa, county solid waste coordinator. It has been repaired, and is being used to shred greenwaste piled up at two different sites at the Lihu’e transfer station, he said.

The single shredder travels to the transfer stations from Princeville to Hanapepe, and to the Kekaha Landfill, turning residential and business yard clippings and other greenwaste into a mulch-like substance that can be used for fertilizer and other ground-cover purposes.

The county previously contracted with local companies to shred growing mountains of greenwaste at various transfer stations, but currently has no such contract, Tanigawa said.

An invitation to bid on such a contract will be issued soon, he said.

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