I have to admit to feeling a bit unnerved by smelling fire all day yesterday, the anniversary of the US terrorist attacks.
Little did I know that we’ve got a little case of overzealous municipal composting gone awry:
A massive pile of leaves and wood at a city of Durham composting facility ignited over the weekend…Durham officials said in a media release issued Monday that the giant pile of rotting organic matter is thought to have spontaneously caught fire.
I was just reminded over the weekend that alligators make compost piles to generate the heat necessary to incubate their eggs. However, I never really gave much thought to the amount of heat generated by a city compost pile:
Spontaneous combustion can occur in compost piles as a result of the breakdown of organic materials, which can produce intense heat. A December 2004 article in BioCycle, a trade journal serving the composting and organics recycling industry, urges the operators of large-scale facilities to prevent fires by using heavy machinery to turn over the mounds regularly and to avoid piling organic material too high.
So, all you composters: be careful out there.