The hot, dry weather is believed responsible for the spontaneous combustion of flammable rubbish causing a fire at Tenterfield Shire Council's Boonoo Boonoo landfill site early in the week, although the flames were all but extinguished by the end of Tuesday.
Council officers haven't rejected the possibility, however, that someone had disposed of burnt waste that was still smouldering and re-ignited at the landfill.
The fire was contained within the active landfill cell, thanks to the combined firefighting efforts of crews from RFS, Fire & Rescue, council staff and local contractors with earthmoving equipment and water carts. Council's water and waste manager Gillian Marchant said it was like a peat fire in that the pile had to be excavated to expose the fire.
The toxicity threat to neighbours was deemed no greater than that of a house fire. The amounts of potentially toxic waste within the landfill cell should be minimal given that households are doing the right thing and separating out hazardous waste.
Operations at the facility will continue with a temporary waste storage site located within the boundary of the Boonoo Boonoo landfill, well away from the area that was burning.
A full of assessment of the impacts of the fire will be undertaken once officers are confident that the fire is out and there's no risk of re-ignition.
The fire will result in a decrease in the volume of waste within the landfill, however this has yet to be assessed.