Huge mulch fire finally extinguished in Upper Marlboro

A huge mulch fire is finally extinguished, more than 12 hours after it ignited at a refuse facility in the Upper Marlboro area.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at Ritchie’s Landfill in the 2000 block of Ritchie Marlboro Road about 8 p.m. Wednesday night.

Authorities said wind gusts of up to 30 mph fueled the fire and blew embers into nearby brush. The flames spanned an area about 100 feet wide and shot 30 feet into the air, said Mark Brady, a Prince George’s County Fire Department spokesman.

Much of the visible blaze was extinguished overnight, but officials said the fire was smoldering deep inside the mulch pile Thursday morning. Smoke continued to billow from the site, and there were occasional flare-ups.

No injuries have been reported, and no structures appeared to be in danger.

Because of the rural location of the business, firefighters were hampered by a lack of water, Brady said. Officials refilled their tanker trucks from a hydrant two miles away and called in tankers from Fairfax County and military installations Joint Base Andrews and the Naval District Washington to help, Brady said.

Firefighters also sprayed foam to smother the burning mulch, Brady said. Officials remained on the scene until the fire was completely extinguished.

“Safety in these type of instances is the utmost priority,” Brady said.

The cause of the fire remains unknown. Brady said spontaneous combustion was a possibility.

 
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