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Good Landfill Operations and Management Practices Can Significantly Reduce the Threat of Landfill Fires and Atmospheric Pollution

reduce threat of landfill fires
reduce threat of landfill fires

If the challenge of managing an open and closing a landfill wasn’t enough, landfill owners must keep up with the demands of preventing and putting out landfill fires that carry toxic plumes of dangerous smoke throughout the atmosphere. Whether you know it or not, these landfill fires effect every human being on the planet.

An average of 8,300 landfill fires caused up to $8 million in property loss. However, this number, reported by FEMA, is only for the United States and does not include other countries. 

Global landfill assessments reveal that over 300 large fires are currently burning at landfills worldwide at any one time.

  • In April 2022, acrid smoke hung over New Delhi after a massive landfill fire swept through the city’s outskirts during a scorching heatwave forcing informal waste workers to endure hazardous conditions.
  • The Seychelles government closed eight schools and an industrial estate on the main island after a fire at the nearby Mahe landfill produced toxic fumes in September 2022.
  • Fires posed by landfills in Nigeria are of special concern because the sites are located within residential areas which lack effective collection systems for landfill gas and harbor large volumes of waste.


One particular health concern is burning tires on these landfill sites, which burn for prolonged times and allow the build-up of toxic waste around homes.

There are two classifications of landfill fires.

Surface Fires

These typically occur due to deliberate arson and spontaneous combustion processes, such as those that occur during waste collection or storage. Many different factors cause surface fires. 

  • Spontaneous combustion, particularly due to heat generation, may lead to a chain reaction. 
  • Excessive heat build-up happens even in landfills that are closed and sealed off from air circulation.
  • Deliberate arson fires (including such cases as those carried out by malicious behavior).


Bacterial activity or fungal growth inside landfills leads to methane gas production by living organisms (such as bacteria) located within them; these gases may then explode if ignited by fire or some other form of ignition.

Deep-Seated Fires

These fires occur when compacted waste in the landfill rises in temperature and combusts spontaneously. Fire Hazards – gases released from burning waste can be highly flammable or toxic. When a deep seated landfill fire occurs, the waste is usually composed of:

  • wood, paper, and other organic materials
  • plastics
  • rubber tires
  • ash/slag products (eg. smelter waste)
  • construction debris

Result of Landfill Fires

Household waste contains various hazardous materials that, when burned, can release toxic and carcinogenic substances into the atmosphere. 

Household waste contains various hazardous materials that, when burned release toxic and carcinogenic substances into the atmosphere. Open landfills also raise environmental issues such as air pollution, water pollution, and increased fire risk, and pose health hazards for workers and local communities. In addition, toxic pollutants may contaminate groundwater via leachate entering the aquifer below the landfill.

In general, open landfills also raise environmental issues such as air pollution, water pollution, and increased fire risk, and pose health hazards for workers and local communities. In addition, toxic pollutants may contaminate groundwater via leachate entering the aquifer below the landfill.

Landfill Operators must seek help from landfill management professionals to prepare for and combat harmful landfill fires.

To prevent harmful fires, landfill operators must manage their landfills effectively. The most effective way to prevent these destructive landfill fires is to consult a landfill management engineering specialist.

How do you manage proper environmental cleanup after a landfill fire? Landfill operators must have a reasonable system in place before the fire. Operators require the services of solid-waste management engineering. 

Combatting Landfill Fires

Landfill fires can be prevented by engineering the landfill site with fire suppression technology, waste wrapping, and focusing on monitoring potential fire sources, and implementing tools and procedures to manage a fire close at hand. Management and training of employees to be aware of the symptoms of fire manifestation is critical

Landfill owners need the solutions only Vikek Environmental Engineers can handle and has professional experience in, such as sustainable resolutions to help you meet and overcome the devastating hardship of a landfill fire.

Vikek Environmental Engineers are currently providing assessment, planning and design services for:

Landfill fire prevention which includes solid waste management services.

  • Prevention of fire planning and management.
  • Sustainable solutions and holistic oversight for pre and post fire purification.
  • Landfill gas well field monitoring 
  • Recycling and transfer facility development 
  • Landfill gas conversion to green gas for a variety of uses.
  • Fire control consultanting for preventative fire management and post fire clean up.
  • Management, design and planning for fire prevention.
  • Specialized research, analysis, assessments, and develop strategies and designs to help organizations overcome the challenges of accidental and natural landfill fires.
  • Landfill Gas Collection and Control System Assessments and Improvements.
  • Recycling and Transfer Facility Development Planning
  • Permitting and regulatory compliance
  • Construction Quality Assurance 
  • Polution leakage assessment and soutions for prevention
  • Optimizing Geomembrane Design and Operation
  • Waste-to-energy solutions

Why Choose Us: Our Motto is, Excellence, Sustainability, Integrity.

  • Solid Waste and Management Engineering
  • Excellence
  • Sustainable Solutions Provider
  • Local and Global Experience
  • Cost-effective Services delivered with Integrity


We help businesses develop new strategies, improve their processes, and assess their capabilities. We build robust solutions that help our clients meet environmental challenges and overcome engineering obstacles.

The purpose of our firm is to provide thought leadership, guidance, and solid waste and management engineering services to organizations and businesses across the globe. We work closely with each client to understand their requirements, design solutions to meet their unique needs and enable them to achieve their goals.

Our team goes above and beyond to serve and provide you with excellent planning, informative communication, education and the tools that will help your organization succeed in a way that is favorable for all parties involved.

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