Illegal Mountnessing woodpile could take 'days to put out'

Fire crews tackle blaze
Image caption At its height, nine crews tackled the fire in the woodpile in Thoby Lane, Mountnessing

A fire in a 5,000-tonne woodpile, "deposited illegally" in Essex, could burn for days, a fire service has said.

The 50ft-high (15m) waste pile, in Mountnessing, near Brentwood, caught light on Monday.

Environment Agency officers had visited the site before the fire to put a risk assessment plan in place.

The agency said it was working with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service "to minimise any potential damage to the environment".

"The site operator has been warned not to accept any more waste on site as it has been deposited illegally, and against the conditions of their permit," a spokesman said.

"We understand the frustration of local residents and we will continue our action against the operator."

Image caption Firefighters said they were carrying out "a controlled burn" on the woodpile blaze

At its height, nine fire crews were tackling the fire on Thoby Lane, which started early on Monday morning.

Matt Hughes from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: "The fire is in a large pile consisting mainly of disused timber.

"Crews are working to contain the fire and protect surrounding risks.

"The site is surrounded by other industrial sites including scrapyards and agricultural equipment so we are working hard to contain the fire."

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