Mulch pile fires still burning in West Des Moines

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Firefighters are keeping watch on a fire that started on New Year’s Day in some huge mulch piles at a landscape company in West Des Moines.

The Des Moines Register reports fire crews worked 26 hours to contain and extinguish the fire that spontaneously combusted. Fire officials say a passer-by spotted the fire at noon on Sunday.

The mulch piles are about 20 feet high and 100 feet long.

Fire department spokesman Jack Benge says mulch can spontaneously combust because of natural decomposition. He says the fire was intense Sunday night because of the strong winds.

Two piles were still burning and the rest were smoldering Monday afternoon. Benge says crews will let them burn out.