Trafalgar Fire Information Page
HELPFUL HEALTH INFORMATION FROM THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
ADEQ's Bella Vista Community information page
February 19, 2019 - Read today's status update press release from the ADEQ here.
February 14, 2019 - Residents impacted by this fire are now able to get disposable masks, air filters and air purifiers at a discounted rate from the Lowe's just south of Bella Vista city limits on Peach Orchard Road. Store Manager Ryan Kelley said the store is committed to stay in-stock and run these discounts until the situation is under control. Proof of residency will be required. The discounts available are as follows:
- 40% off of all in-stock disposable masks
- 33% off of all in-stock air filters
- 20% off of all in-stock air purifiers
February 13, 2019 - The city's Street Department workers are on site this week relocating a storm pipe, at the request of ADEQ.
February 8, 2019 - The latest air quality testing results have been posted to the ADEQ's website here.
February 6, 2019 - From the ADEQ: At the request of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is mobilizing today to begin three days of community and site-based monitoring. It is a focused monitoring event to deploy an array of air monitoring technology with an emphasis on an evaluation of off-site impacts. The air monitoring will begin on Thursday, February 7, 2019. EPA’s current monitoring event will be in addition to the previous EPA monitoring activity and ADEQ’s current community air monitoring.
On January 23, 2019, EnSafe collected water samples at the northern perimeter of the Trafalgar site. Today, ADEQ received the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) evaluation of the analytical results. A copy of ADH’s preliminary review of the surface water samples may be found on ADEQ’s Bella Vista Community page: https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/bella-vista/pdfs/20190206-adh-preliminary-surface-water-data-review.pdf.
The Arkansas Forestry Commission has had to postpone back burning inside the fire break this week, due to the forecasted rain for the area. Weather conditions will continue to be evaluated to determine the best time to begin. The purpose of back burning is to clear brush and other debris to prevent any potential spread of the fire.February 5, 2019 - The latest air quality testing results have been posted to the ADEQ's website here. The most recent status report from EnSafe, the engineering conrtractors, can be found on the ADEQ's webiste here.
February 1, 2019 - The latest air quality testing results have been posted to the ADEQ's website here.
From the POA: "There has been reports by Bella Vista residents that the West Side Stump Dump, off of Rocky Dell Hollow Road, is smoking and possibly on fire. On February 1st Chief Sims inspected the site, along with Benton County officials and representatives of the POA. Chief Sims was able to confirm that portions of the site are steaming from the decomposition of organic material. There was no evidence of a fire."
January 28, 2019 - Results from recent air quality monitoring by the ADEQ and ADH can be found here. There was also an article in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette this weekend regarding these results. You can read that here.
FROM ADEQ: Today the Arkansas Forestry Commission is on-site cutting in a fire break around the perimeter of the Trafalgar site. Other field activities planned include construction of access roads and a temporary weir. The weir will be constructed to collect make-up water for firefighting on the surface of the Trafalgar site. Water will be collected at the weir and pumped to the top of the site.
Last week, Environmental Works Inc., contracted by EnSafe, installed a trench along the south perimeter ranging from 22’ to 48’ in depth. The trench was used to assess the presence of waste, determine the location of the fire, and the depth to native material. With the installation of the trench, contractors successfully stopped the fire from spreading to adjacent properties. The fire break created from the trench is instrumental in reducing the environmental impact and cost.
Continuous air monitoring continues at the Bella Vista Fire Department Station 2 and the city transfer station near Cooper Elementary School. The air monitors record particulate matter (PM) levels on a 24-hour cycle, and samples are collected every Monday and Thursday for assessment. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) evaluated the PM levels for January 1–January 21. The PM data analysis indicates the air quality was within the Air Quality Index “good” range. A copy of ADH's particulate matter evaluation may be found on ADH's website at: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/pdf/ADH_PM_Evaluation_1-24-19.pdf.
See the full release here.
January 23, 2019 - Some heavy equipment has been brought to the Trafalgar Road Fire site for use tomorrow (Thursday). We will be out on site with the ADEQ and their contractors. They are likely going to begin work on digging a trench on the far south end of the fire site near the paved storage facility area to prevent it from spreading in that area, and we will be there to assist in any way possible. As a reminder, this area is restricted and should not be accessed by unauthorized personnel.
January 17, 2019 - From the ADEQ:
Governor Asa Hutchinson: “I have received the initial report from ADEQ that includes cost estimates for the Trafalgar Road fire cleanup. The $21 to $37 million estimates for excavation are stunning and much higher than the initial estimates of $5 to $10 million. I have directed ADEQ and EnSafe, the engineering firm the state has contracted with, to explore more cost effective alternatives. Additionally, we continue to vigorously pursue assistance from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which will be necessary as we move forward with this project. In the meantime, ADEQ and the Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC) will immediately begin work to prepare the site for cleanup. This is a necessary step in the overall process and will not impede the project’s timeline as we study the above mentioned alternatives.” Read the entire press release.
A copy of the draft plan can be found on the ADEQ's Bella Vista Community page: https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/bella-vista/
January 16, 2019 - The Bella Vista POA is continuing to test the water at Lake Ann and Lake Brittany for any negative impacts resulting from this fire. They provided the most recent test results this afternoon, which can be found here. According to the POA, these results show no issues of concern.
January 15, 2018 - From the ADEQ:
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is initiating continuous air monitoring in the Bella Vista community. Air monitors will be set up at the Bella Vista Fire Station and Cooper Elementary. Monitors will record particulate matter levels on a twenty-four hour cycle. The data will be collected and analyzed by ADEQ personnel, and then released to the public in a timely manner.
Last week, at the request of EnSafe, ADEQ authorized the installation of a water line to the site. The installation was completed on January 10, 2018. This is a first step to establish a water source for smoke and fire suppression for when an action plan is developed and implemented.
ADEQ has launched the Bella Vista Community Information page on its website: https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/bella-vista/. The webpage is a resource with up-to-date information regarding the fire on Trafalgar Road. Resources and information can be found on the webpage as well as updates regarding on-site work being done. It will be updated on a regular basis as new information becomes available. With the launch of the webpage, ADEQ has set up a designated Bella Vista community phone line at 501-682-0906 and an email address at email@example.com.January 8, 2019 - Starting on Wednesday, Jan. 9, Trafalgar Road will be one-way traffic only between Commonwealth Road andKingsland Road, with flaggers guiding drivers through the work zone. Starting Thursday, Jan. 10 at approximately 8:30 a.m., Trafalgar Road will be closed entirely to traffic between Commonwealth Road and Kingsland Road. The full street closure is planned to last the majority of the day on Thursday and the street should be opened to the traveling public by late afternoon or early evening.
The road will be closed to make a street cut to accommodate an 8-inch water line installed by the Bella Vista Property Owners Association Water Department to provide water to the former stump dump site. This closure and water line installation is at the request of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), which is overseeing the mitigation of the Trafalgar Road fire. Contact the ADEQ for further details.
Please be advised that this is a planned street closure and weather and other unforeseen circumstances could postpone this activity to a later date and time.January 4, 2019 - Multiple agencies met on site today, including ADEQ, ADEM (Arkansas Department of Emergency Management), Benton County Emergency Management and the engineering firm Ensafe. Engineers are still working to develop a plan for fire suppression and we hope to know more soon. The ADEQ remains the lead agency on this project. Residents can direct questions regarding assistance needs or other questions to the ADEQ — firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 3, 2019 - Governor Hutchinson yesterday signed the emergency declaration to begin remediation efforts on the former stump dump property off Trafalgar Road. This means the process can move more quickly to allow state money to be spent on the project. See the declaration here.
December 28, 2018 - Governor Hutchinson toured the fire site today and then held a press conference at Fire Station 2. He said he is ready to make an emergency declaration, which will cut through some red tape and get the process moving more quickly to fix the problem. He said he also will dedicate funds to the cost of the remediation, which will be in the millions. The emergency declaration is expected to be done next week. The video of the press conference can be seen here.
December 27, 2018 - For those impacted by this fire — a press conference with Governor Hutchinson will be held at 1:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28 at Fire Station 2, 8300 Trafalgar Road. Please note: Parking at this station is limited. If you plan to attend, please consider carpooling with your neighbors. Parking is allowed in the road right-of-way, as long as the road remains clear for emergency vehicles.
More engineers from Ensafe (the engineering firm the state designated to create a plan) toured the entire site today, in the process of working up the plan for remediation. They spent a good deal of time out there and walked the entire perimeter. The word is that the planning process is still expected to take a while.
December 22, 2018 - A summary of the results from the third round of EPA air quality testing provided by the EPA can be found here. According to the regional director of the EPA, "none of the data showed elevated levels of chemicals of concern in the community." This summary is the only information regarding this testing we have received from the EPA so far.
December 21, 2018 - We met on the fire site today with the ADEQ and a representative from the engineering firm contracted following the Governor's direction yesterday. The engineer walked nearly the entire perimeter of the site to get a look at the situation up close. After touring the entire site, she will bring the information back to her team and they will begin putting together a remediation plan. We were told the process to create the plan could be lengthy. We were also told that the process that got us here today - that led up to the Governor's order to begin solving this situation - typically takes 4-6 months. In this instance, it took 2 days.
December 20, 2018 - Governor Hutchinson released this statement this afternoon:
"Earlier today, I met with my directors of ADEQ and Department of Health to discuss the serious nature of the Bella Vista fire situation. As a result of the meeting, I directed the ADEQ to contract with an engineering firm to prepare a plan for removing or eliminating the hazardous waste fire and dump. This is an expensive project, and I have approved necessary funds for the engineering work. Additional funds and expertise will be needed to eliminate the hazard. I am committed to a solution that works as quickly and as safely as possible. I expect to view the site in person within the next few days."December 19, 2018 - We had a call this afternoon with Congressman Womack, Senator Boozman, Senator Cotton’s office, Governor Hutchinson’s office, the ADEQ, EPA and the Arkansas Department of Health. The ADEQ and ADH are anticipating a meeting with the Governor (who himself was not on the call) tomorrow. No further declarations can be made until the Governor can weigh in. We expect to hear more information following that meeting tomorrow.
From the POA today: Due to concerns expressed as a result of the Trafalgar Road Fire, the POA hired a third party firm (Arkansas Analytical) to conduct testing on Lake Ann and Lake Brittany to see if the fire was having a negative impact upon the quality of the water in these lakes. Neither the sample from Lake Ann (Sample Name: A1-3) nor the sample from Lake Brittany (Sample Name: B1-3) showed concerning levels of volatiles. “All analyses [were] performed according to EPA approved methodology when available.” Arkansas Analytical will conduct regular testing of these two lakes until the Trafalgar Road Fire has been extinguished and the situation resolved. Read the complete report from Arkansas Analytical here.
December 18, 2018 - The update read by Mayor Christie at the Dec. 17 City Council meeting can be found here.
From the health department: Email is the best way to reach them at email@example.com. If you prefer to contact them by phone, the phone number is 800-803-7847. Please note: This is a switchboard number intentionally, so that your call can be routed to the appropriate department. If you are calling after hours, you can leave a message and someone will return your call in a timely manner.
December 17, 2018 - The fire suppression options report was received from the EPA this afternoon. Read it here.
December 14, 2018 - The Fire Chief met this afternoon on site at the stump dump with representatives from the ADEQ, the Arkansas Health Department, the EPA and federal EPA researchers who were brought in by the EPA to evaluate the stump dump fire situation and make a recommendation on its remediation. The meeting was arranged by the ADEQ, and the property owner was not present. The Fire Chief answered questions from the researchers from a fire suppression stand point, as well as historical questions regarding the alleged cause of the fire.
Following this meeting, the ADEQ and EPA representatives planned to meet again later in the day to discuss options. Per the EPA, several recommendations will be presented, then the best method for putting out the fire will be decided on and presented to the property owner. We will be informed when more information is available.December 13, 2018 - From the EPA: Air samples were continued to be collected yesterday, and since it was a windy day, all measurements for smoke particulates were within acceptable levels. The 3-day testing is coming to an end today, and final particulate information should be available Friday. They anticipate quality assured chemical data by Dec. 21. The EPA's experts will be visiting the property this week and will provide recommendations to the ADEQ soon.
According to the ADH, it's important to understand that smoke particulate measurements is highly variable data, and can change day to day depending on weather conditions. Regarding the trails - based on the data they have seen so far, the ADH does not deem it necessary to close the trails or issue warning signage. With the data collected, they are more concerned about the sensitive populations, such as those with respiratory diseases. The air quality is not an immediate concern for healthy individuals who would be passing by on the trails.
December 12, 2018 - The Arkansas Health Department's health alert and further information can be found here: https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/news/detail/health-alert-regarding-the-Trafalgar-road-fire.
December 11, 2018 - Along with this round of air quality testing, the EPA is also measuring for smoke particulates. We were told this evening by the EPA that "as expected our sampling has shown that particulates associated with the fires are measurable at one location in the community. We also had a high level of particulates in the smoke on the property. The precautions are common sense approaches, including staying out of the smoke whenever possible."
Air sample collection will continue through Thursday morning, and they expect to have data available Dec. 21. Their experts should be arriving by Friday to help evaluate conditions at the property. The EPA also provided the below information about the air quality and precautions to take.
Air Quality Index Cautionary Statements:
Moderate – Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion
Unhealthy – People with respiratory or heart disease, elderly, and children should limit prolonged exertion
Fires and Your Health (https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/fires-and-your-health):
When smoke is present:
- If it looks smoky outside, it is a good idea to limit exertion (running, yard work, playing) during outside activity.
- If you have asthma or other lung disease, you should follow your doctor’s directions or asthma management plan.
- Run your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system while keeping your air filter clean
- If you have heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have a child, talk with your doctor about whether or when you should leave the area
Air Quality Index (AQI) Calculator (concentration to AQI):
PM2.5 (24 hr average)
BVF-011 Webb Lane
BVF—012 Sutherland Lane
BVF-014 Mary Ann Lane
December 10, 2018 - We received this morning the finalized report from the EPA validating the data they received from the November monitoring of air quality. This report confirms that a low amount of benzene was detected at one of the ten testing sites - the site at the actual stump dump location, not in any of the surrounding neighborhoods. The levels detected at this one site were 0.03 ppm (parts per million) and are therefore low enough that exposure "does not represent an immediate health concern." According to this report, concerning levels of exposure to benzene are in the 700-3000 ppm range.
Additionally, per residents' request for further air quality testing, including particulate testing, the EPA is back on site this morning to set up monitoring systems. This will be consecutive three-day testing, and we expect to receive results just before Christmas.
December 6, 2018 - We received this information from the EPA this afternoon:
EPA agreed to secure an experienced fire expert to advise the state and community regarding the properties of the current fire and recommendations on preferred options to extinguish the underground fire quickly and with the lowest possible environmental and public health consequences.
November 29, 2018 — After a resident spoke Monday night at the City Council meeting about the Arkansas Forestry Commission coming to cut a fire break below the stump dump, we asked Fire Chief Sims (who has been in Indiana this week inspecting our newly remounted ambulance and returned today) to check in with the commission. Sims has been in contact with the commission's lead ranger in Benton County since the start of the situation in August, and they have previously discussed the possibility of dozing the perimeter if necessary closer to the springtime, when fire danger increases and prior to summer heat and humidity. The forestry ranger said that they may plan to come in sooner to cut the fire break. No date has been set for this yet. This is NOT because there is elevated risk of the fire spreading beyond the area currently burning, but rather a precaution.
It is important for residents to understand our role in this situation. It is our job to make sure the most appropriate people are involved. The most appropriate agency is the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, which has been involved since the beginning. That is the state-level agency that has authority over this issue. It also has the necessary personnel with training and knowledge to deal with this environmental situation. The ADEQ is getting close to having the information needed in order to discuss a plan for mitigation. The conversations with lawmakers this week have been in preparation to talk about these options, and specifically to discuss who has the funds to cover the millions of dollars it will likely take to fix it.
November 27, 2018 - Mayor Christie spoke with Congressman John Boozman's office, who said they would contact the EPA to express the need for quick results plus an action plan. He also spoke with Senator Jim Hendren, who said he will contact Sen. Tom Cotton's office tomorrow, along with the director of ADEQ. Hendren said he also plans to discuss this with Governor Hutchinson tomorrow.
November 26, 2018 — East side residents addressed City Council members during the November regular meeting about what could be done to mitigate this situation. The mayor is still waiting on results from the EPA air quality testing, and will know more when those results arrive.
November 9, 2018 — The EPA set up testing sites for the second round of air quality testing. They will have tested 10 total locations between the first round and second round. They say it will be toward the end of November before any results are returned. Measurements today found some areas underground are burning at more than 800 degrees.
September 28, 2018 — The city has been working closely with the ADEQ, who has been working with the EPA out of Texas. The EPA has requested to use city property as a location to do air quality testing, in addition to the stump dump property if necessary. Mayor Christie has signed an agreement to allow this. We have not been provided dates or times when testing will be done, but have requested the ADEQ notify us when testing is complete. We have not observed any additional burning on the property, and any smoke that can be seen or smelled from the property is the result of the fire that remains below ground. We continue to monitor this situation daily.
September 17, 2018 — The ADEQ has an active case on the stump dump fire, and is working on enforcement actions at this time. We learned today they will be involving the EPA this week, which can step in to mitigate the situation if they deem it to be reaching certain hazardous levels. If not, the responsibility remains with the property owner to resolve the problem.
August 24, 2018 — The fire at the former stump dump off Trafalgar Road continues to burn. We understand this has been an unfortunate and bothersome situation for homeowners in that area. The responsibility for this situation lies with the property owner, who has been working with the ADEQ to mitigate the situation. The ADEQ – Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality – gave the property owner options on how to put the fire out. We have been in contact with the ADEQ throughout this process to be sure something is being done to resolve the issue. As of Friday afternoon, there was very little smoke still coming from the area. The area of the stump dump is a watershed to Lake Ann. While we, or anyone, can’t be sure what is still burning underground, flowing water through there would risk groundwater contamination, without proper control measures in place. Our Fire Chief advises residents to stay inside as much as possible if they are bothered by smoke in the air. Also, run your air conditioner in your home to help filter the air.
August 3, 2018 — We were fortunate to get some cool drone footage of the fire this afternoon. Obviously, it’s still burning, and it will likely continue to do so for a while, but it's not looking like it wants to spread. Some things we want you to know:
• First and most importantly – this area is EXTREMELY unsafe due to the ground being very unstable. DO NOT try to get close to this fire. There is no way for us to safely get personnel or equipment to this fire. We WILL NOT risk the lives of our firefighters when the best thing for this fire is to let it burn itself out.
• If you don’t physically see us out there, it doesn’t mean we aren’t watching this fire closely. We are highly trained and staffed around the clock, so even if it’s 2 a.m. and something happens, we will be there and we will know what to do.
• While we have heard that an environmental agency has been out to the site, we are not at all involved in that process. Whatever happens with that is between the property owner and the agency. If, however, there is a situation the residents need to know about, you will know.
• This is actually the best time of year for something like this to happen. Fire doesn’t like lush, green forests in hot, humid climates. If this fire were to spread beyond the perimeter it’s already made for itself, it would burn very slowly.
On July 29, 2018, the Bella Vista Fire Department received a request for a smoke check at the Trafalgar stump dump. The caller reported smoke coming from or near the stump dump area. When we arrived at the stump dump, we did observe smoke coming from the stump dump area, along with remnants of a large brush fire that was still smoking. The fire was controlled and away from all structures or wooded areas. At that time, we left the scene and continued to monitor it throughout the day. (Read fire report here.)
The land formerly used as a POA stump dump is located off Trafalgar Road near the intersection with Commonwealth Road. According to county records, property is currently owned by BTS Equipment, LLC, who purchased the land from Blue Mountain Storage in January 2018. Blue Mountain Storage purchased the land in 2015 from Frederick's Construction. The city does own, however, a one-acre parcel adjacent to the stump dump property, which we purchased in 2018 and on which we are currently constructing a salt and sand storage facility for the east side winter street maintenance. This one-acre parcel was never part of the stump dump and is solid ground.
The stump dump operation was closed Dec. 31, 2016.
Contact information and resources:
Those who are affected by this fire at any time can consult their own private attorney regarding this situation, and those with health concerns can also contact the Arkansas Department of Health by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone at 800-462-0599 or online at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/.
You can report additional complaints directly to the ADEQ by calling 888-233-0326 or 501-682-0756 or online at https://www.adeq.state.ar.us/complaints/. For other questions, call the ADEQ at 501-682-0889 or email email@example.com.
From the Arkansas Health Department:
Indoor air filtration fact sheet
Protect yourself from ash fact sheet
Protecting children from wildfire smoke and ash fact sheet
Reducing health risks from wildfire smoke and ash fact sheet
Reduce your smoke exposure fact sheet
Respiratory protection fact sheet
Environmental odors fact sheet