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Alisal Fire threatens Tajiguas Landfill in Santa Barbara County

The Alisal Fire reached the Tajiguas landfill Oct. 12
Courtesy of Santa Barbara County Public Works
The Alisal Fire reached the Tajiguas landfill Oct. 12

The Alisal Fire along the Gaviota Coast reached the Tajiguas landfill Tuesday morning.

“On Tuesday around 10:45 am, County Fire responded to a fire at the landfill. There was a flare up that occurred in the bio filter which is outside of the Materials Recovery Facility,” Lael Wageneck said.

Wageneck is the Public Information Officer for Santa Barbara County Public Works. He said county firefighters were already at the location when the first small fire broke out and were quick to respond.

“It’s an uncovered concrete structure that’s filled with wood chips. That [fire] continues to burn, County Fire is there managing the ignited wood chips and protecting the facility from the flames,” Wageneck said.

He said structures at the landfill are equipped with indoor and exterior fire suppression equipment as well as fire hydrants and large water tanks.

“County Fire was given access to those water tanks that hold 300,000 gallons of water,” he said.

Wageneck said there was minor damage at the landfill to drainage, gas collection systems, and heavy equipment from other small fires that were quickly controlled.

“The landfill has methane collection systems on-site, but the landfill is not a threat to the community,” Wageneck said.

He said the new anaerobic digester that just opened last month for recycling organic waste remains fully intact.

Santa Barbara County has implemented a contingency plan for waste services until further notice.

“Facilities in Ventura County will manage waste collected in the area on a short-term emergency basis, so waste collection services for residents and businesses will continue as usual, and the Transfer Station on the South Coast will remain open to the public,” Wageneck said.

Beth Thornton is a freelance reporter for KCBX, and a contributor to Issues & Ideas. She was a 2021 Data Fellow with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, and has contributed to KQED's statewide radio show The California Report.
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