EPA Performs Second Round of Air Quality Testing at Bella Vista Stump Dump

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BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA) — Some spots in an underground fire in Bella Vista are burning at more than 800 degrees.

According to a post by Bella vista Fire Department this morning, the Environmental Protection Agency spent Friday testing sites around the area of the stump dump on Trafalgar Road.

The area is on private property and the department says the unstable ground is very dangerous.

Some neighbors are wondering when the smell of smoke will go away.

Curtis Macomber lives down the street from the stump dump in Bella Vista.

“To me, it smells like a very harsh kind of like a campfire mixed with a tire smell and chemicals,” Macomber said.

He says sometimes smoke from the burn is so potent, it can be difficult to breathe.

“We smelled it really bad on Tuesday and my wife actually went out and bought an air purifier just because the smoke gets in our house and in our bedrooms, and it’s really hard to sleep at night,” Macomber said.

On Friday the EPA was out at the property for the second round of air quality testing.

According to Cletus Wilkins, who owns the property just north of the stump dump, the fire has been smoldering for years.

Although he was unable to comment on camera, Wilkins says the burn is under control and he continues to monitor it.

He also says some areas have up to 30 feet of clay on top of them to smother the fire.

Wilkins says the smoke people see is actually steam, from recent rainwater getting into the dump.

But neighbors just hope something gets done soon.

“We really just want it fixed. With having two kids we can’t just up and leave the area, which we have had to do twice. We’ve had to buy hotel rooms at our own expense so that we can our kids away from it, so my kid can go to his therapies and not be bothered by it,” Macomber said.

Any results from the air quality tests will be available at the end of the month.

KNWA reached out to the EPA for an update but have not received a call back.

Neighbors like Macomber say they have also reached out to the EPA and ADEQ for more information, and have also not heard back. 

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