U.S. Rep. Steve Womack is seeking federal support to help put out the stump dump fire in Bella Vista.
Womack (R AR) has asked the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist Bella Vista in extinguishing and restore the site on Trafalgar Road where the underground fire burns, according to a news release from Womack’s office.
“I want to ensure the State of Arkansas has access to any and all resources — funding, experts, logistics — that might be available to them through the federal government,” Womack is quoted as saying in the news release.
Womack sent a letter to EPA and FEMA officials requesting information on what federal resources might be available to support emergency actions to resolve the fire.
In his letter to Anne L. Idsal, EPA regional administrator, Region 6, Womack wrote: “The State of Arkansas recently received a report from the contractor it brought in to assess the fire and develop recommendations. This report indicated the cost to extinguish the fire and remediate the site could reach into a range of $28-$37 million.”
Womack stressed in the letter health issues residents are experiencing that could be related to the Stump Dump fire, saying the following:
“Situated within a residential area, the impacts of the smoke and particulate matter have been significant. We have residents voluntarily evacuating because the smoke is so bad. My office was informed by one resident late last week that her recent CT scan was positive for a nodule in her lungs, and she has a follow up appointment scheduled with a pulmonologist. Additionally, I was informed by Mayor Peter Christie today that a child is being treated at Arkansas Children’s Northwest for health issues the parents attribute to smoke from the fire. There are additional reports of respiratory concerns being made by residents.”
The Arkansas Department of Health issued a news release in December stating that the EPA monitored particulate matter of air in the half-mile radius around the 8000 block of Trafalgar Road in Bella Vista.
“One of those readings has shown that air quality for partide pollution is in the ‘Unhealthy’ category,” the news release said.
Department of Health officials caution that everyone within a half-mile radius of the 8000 block of Trafalgar Road should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. The news release lists examples of heavy exertion as running, playing or yardwork.