Substantial progress clearing mulch must be done by Monday, County says

Kathleen Damron said she is tired of living with this: smoke pouring out of the pile of debris sitting feet from her backyard.

“It’s been a nightmare for a year,” Damron said. “We just we need this stuff gone. We’re tired of looking at it. We’re tired of living with the smoke day-in and day-out.”

A mulch fire on Tuesday. Photo via WINK News.
A mulch fire on Tuesday. Photo via WINK News.

This pile, an expansive dark brown mound with smoke permeating from the top, has caught fire countless times over the past year.

“There’s spots all over that pile,” Damron said.

“We have to do it in a slow methodical way,” Denise Houghtaling said, owner of MW Horticulture Recycling.

Houghtaling said, since last November, her crews have worked to remove the massive pile from the north Fort Myers site.

“Its probably 20,000 to 10,” Houghtaling said. “Ten to 20,000 cubic yards that we’ve moved.”

But she said, removing it is part of what is causing the fires to break out.

“It was anticipated based on what we told the county,” Houghtaling said. “What would happen when we started hauling it out.”

The County said, they have until Monday to show substantial progress. But Houghtaling  said, clearing it out completely will take far longer.

“We’re hoping within the next four to six months that it will be done,” Houghtaling said.

Author: Kelsey Kushner
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