Cost Estimate Rises For Arkansas Underground Fire Cleanup

Jan 18, 2019

File photo of Gov. Asa Hutchinson who says the cost to put out the underground fire in northwest Arkansas could cost much more than initially expected.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says it could cost millions more than first estimated to extinguish an underground fire at a landfill containing wood waste.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that cleanup at the Bella Vista stump dump could cost $21 million to $37 million. The project was initially estimated to cost up to $10 million.

Hutchinson says he's asked the state Department of Environmental Quality and engineering firm EnSafe to find a more cost effective solution.

EnSafe's draft response action plan calls for smoke mitigation measures, flooding of the area and efforts to reduce storm water runoff.

Bella Vista Fire Chief Steve Sims says the fire could be burning more than 50 feet (15 meters) underground. The issue was first discovered after firefighters were dispatched to the site in July.