Tucumcari Fire Department crews burned three 20-foot-tall piles of green waste Sunday morning at Coronado Park, Tucumcari, sending flames as high as 50 feet into the air and a plume of dark smoke that was visible for miles.
The idea of the burn was to make room for more, City Manager Jared Langenegger said. C
oronado Park continues to be where the city collects green waste, including tree branches and bush clippings, fromresidents for disposal.
Some of the waste is fed into chippers to become mulch that is used at some city parks, Langenegger said, “but we had way more there than we could convert into chips.”
“The best way to get rid of it,” he said, “ is to burn it.”
Fire Chief Shane Warner led a crew of 10 volunteer firefighters in setting the green-waste piles ablaze in the calm air Sunday morning.
The firefighters wore full fire-fighting gear as they monitored the burn with several firefighting trucks and engines standing by, along with a paramedic ambulance.
They started the burn a little after 2 a.m., Warner said.
Firefighters left the scene at about 6 p.m. but returned after 7 p.m. to pour more water as the wind picked up, then checked the scene every two hours until rain started early Monday, Mark Martinez, a volunteer firefighter, said.