The fire brigade is battling to control the six-day old fire at the Deonar dumping ground, but the crisis intensified with fresh outbreak at new spots inside the yard on Wednesday.
Apart from small pocket fires in at least eight areas across the dumping ground, there was a fire with thick smoke bellowing from at least one new spot. The smoke could be witnessed from the Vashi-Sion highway with a smoke cover seen in many areas in Govandi.
A fire had also erupted close to the slums in Sanjay Nagar which was being brought under control by the fire brigade till Wednesday evening.
Fire brigade officials, however, said that the fire seen in many places were pocket fires. “The fire is totally under control. There is spontaneous combustion in a few places due to the methane gas generation which is a natural phenomenon, but it is not having any serious consequences,” said chief fire officer P Rahangdale.
He added the fire brigade had been continuing their operations to douse the fire completely. “Along with the ward office and the solid waste management department, we have commenced covering the dump with dry earth,” Rahangdale said.
He said that the poclain machines were being used to overturn the waste. Ward officials said that they had used a drone on Tuesday as a trial to see whether it would assist the operations. A BMC official said that permission would be sought from the DCP to use the drones on Thursday.
The authorities have also been attempting to stop trespassing into the dumping ground. The dumping operations have been stalled since last week after the fire. An official from the BMC said that the security measures were not adequate for the entire area of the dumping ground. While private security has been put in place at the entrance of the ground, there are many places on its periphery which do not have a compound wall.“Some waste-collectors have been going into the dumping ground because they cannot lose their livelihood for so many days,” said a local resident.
Residents marched from Panjarpole to Chembur Naka, seeking closure of the Deonar dumping ground on Wednesday morning. Many dressed in black and carried banners seeking the ground be shut immediately.