LAVEEN, AZ - Phoenix firefighters expect the large mulch fire burning in Laveen to look much better Thursday morning.
That's because Wednesday afternoon the Fire Marshal ordered the property owner to run three front end loaders and three water trucks around the clock.
The blaze broke out at a mulch business near 62nd Avenue and Dobbins on Tuesday around 3 p.m. Typically, the city allows a fire like this where no structures are threatened and it's contained to burn no more than 24 hours before mandating a certain amount of equipment.
Captain Johnathan Jacobs tells ABC15 the property owner is responsible for the equipment costs. The front end loaders are there to churn up the mulch so firefighters can then douse the hot spots using canal water the property owner has loaded onto trucks.
Jacobs says fire inspectors regularly check mulch and other potentially dangerous businesses and this particular business he says is run responsibly with mulch piles at appropriate heights with the proper space between them. Investigators think spontaneous combustion is to blame and the shifting winds have created thick smoke.
The Maricopa County Air Quality Division has set up two monitoring stations. As of late Wednesday the county had issued no formal alerts or advisories, but is suggesting people with asthma or respiratory problems stay indoors.
School school classes at Betty Fairfax High School were canceled Wednesday. Officials say classes will be held at Cesar Chavez High School on Thursday.