Spontaneous combustion cause of mulch pile blazes

Winters Fire crews were dispatched on multpile occasions to put out a mulch pile fire that kept picking back up throughout the day on June 22-23. The cause of the fire was spontaneous combustion. Courtesy photo

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On Tuesday, June 22 at 8:33 p.m., the Winters Fire Department was dispatched for a miscellaneous fire at the 28000 block of County Road 87D.

Fire Chief Brad L. Lopez said the fire was ignited in a large wood mulch pile located in an open agricultural field. 

There was no threat to surrounding vegetation or structures. Lopez said the blaze was contained to the mulch pile itself. 

Lopez said there was also a larger adjacent pile of mulch in the vicinity, but the fire crew was able to prevent the fire from spreading to it.

The cause of the fire was a result of spontaneous combustion, which, according to Lopez, is a common cause of compost fires.

Fire personnel worked to spread the mulch pile with a dozer and provided suppression to minimize the smoke working through into the midnight hours on June 22.

Lopez said Winters Fire crews were dispatched on three other separate occasions for reports of smoke in the area which was a result of the mulch fire activity picking back up through the day. 

Winters Fire crews responded back out to the area on Wednesday, June 23, and requested mutual aid from the West Plainfield Fire Protection District, Dixon Fire Department and UC Davis Fire Department to assist with water supply to suppress the fires.

Smoke continued drifting into town on Wednesday. Winters Fire posted a smoke alert announcement on social media to notify residents.

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