Large sawdust pile catches fire, burns for hours

The fire began late Tuesday afternoon, and while sawdust fires are common, wind conditions made this one a lot more difficult to control.

Several hours after workers at the Kingsford Charcoal Plant called firefighters for help, the flames continued to burn. A closer look at the massive pile of sawdust used to make charcoal resembled the surface of the sun.

Those passing by couldn't help stop and and stare as bulldozers worked to manage the flames.

Pulaski County Emergency Management Director Tiger Robinson says it's unclear what started the fire, explaining that small fires can be common at the industrial site, but strong winds are what blew the fire out of control.

Although no one was injured, and no surrounding structures were damaged, authorities early on suggested some voluntary evacuations for those nearby. But by early evening, additional evacuations seemed unnecessary as firefighters began to take control of the situation.

Robinson says it will take a significant amount of time to put out so much material that's made to burn.

"I have seen it just completely covered with water and have the water bubble come up and smoke for that. We've covered it up with one time six feet of red clay dirt, and it burned for several months and finally just burned out, and the dirt fell through, so it's compact. It can still, I don't know how it does it, but it does burn.

Fire crews expect to continue to work throughout the night, but they say the flames are contained to plant property, and they say there is no threat to surrounding areas.

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