Fire Management at Landfill Sites

Early in 2012, the Fire Services Commissioner engaged I.R.S. Services to study a series of significant fires that occurred at the following Victorian landfill sites during January 2012:

  • Brooklyn Landfill
  • Knox Transfer Station
  • Werribee Landfill

The study aimed to identify any common features between the fires that were worthy of further consideration by the fire services and regulators when developing approaches intended to reduce the future incidence of similar fires.

A key finding was that fire suppression at landfill sites was a costly and resource intensive operation for the fire services and that these costs could be contained through improved prevention, planning and preparation for fire at the site.

The study found that landfill site operators needed to assess their practices for activities likely to ignite fires and to better equip and train their staff to respond to outbreaks of fire.  The fire services also needed to work more closely with the operators to develop fire management plans.

As a consequence of the study findings, the Fire Services Commissioner intends to work with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the regulator, to educate and work with the landfill site operators to help them improve their operating practices.

The EPA has produced a best practice document Siting, Design, Operation and Rehabilitation of Landfills and a key aim of the engagement is to encourage the landfill site operators to use the document as a guide to achieving compliance with the conditions of their licence to operate.

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