THE large wood fire on Thoby Lane, Mountnessing, is expected “for days” as fire crews at the scene carry out a controlled burn.

Fire fighters were first called to the scene, which involves a huge pile of scrap wood covering an area of 50 metres by 30 metres and estimated to weigh 5,000 tonnes, early on Monday, August 18. Since then at least six crews have remained on site at all times.

Crews are allowing the large fire to burn itself safely out and ensuring that the blaze does not spread to adjacent businesses including a number of scrap yards.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Paul Hill said: "A controlled burn is taking place with crews monitoring and containing the fire to prevent it spreading.

"Initially the fire was deep within the pile of wood and now it has broken through and more of the pile is alight so there is a larger smoke plume. The smoke is not particularly toxic, but it is still best to avoid it and we are advising residents to keep doors and windows closed.

“The environmental impact of the fire is a key concern for us and we are working with the Environment Agency to ensure that the impact is kept to a minimum.

“We anticipate that this fire will burn for days yet to come. We will maintain a presence at the site to ensure the fire doesn’t spread and monitor and contain it as it burns.”

Residents who live close to the site have been advised to keep their doors and windows closed while the fire burns out.

Frank Saunders, Environmental Agency Incident Controller, said: “We are working closely with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to ensure the environmental impact from this fire is kept to a minimum. Our officers have been on site and are working directly with fire crews on the ground.”

Brentwood Council leader, Councillor Barry Aspinell, himself an ex-firefighter, said: “Our Environmental Health team have visited the site and are in regular contact with Essex County Fire and Rescue and the Environment Agency.

“The fire service is advising motorists to avoid the area if at all possible over the next few days as they need to keep closing Roman Road to access a water supply.

“We understand the inconvenience this is causing but I’m sure people appreciate the fire service are doing all they can to deal with the situation with the safety of those in the area in mind.”