A large tire fire that began in Odessa, Texas, on April 9th continues to smolder and pump massive amounts of poisonous black smoke into the air. Although the fire is no longer a raging inferno, it has presented a massive environmental issue that local firefighters and other officials are still working to resolve.
It is not known what started the blaze in the pile of 100,000 tires. The situation quickly became complicated by dry weather and gusty winds. In addition, the nearest fire hydrant was four miles from the site, hampering the efforts of the Odessa Fire Department. Firefighters were unable to access the pit where the fire originated because the rubber was too hot and stuck to boots and gear.
There was nothing the department could do other than dig a trench around the tire pile and wait for the fire to burn itself out. Eventually, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arrived on the scene and got the fire under control, which reduced the smoke output but did not resolve the issue of toxic air around Odessa. The EPA has continued to work with the fire department to put the blaze out completely.
Currently, it is not clear whether the tires were being stored on public or private land, and the investigation is continuing. The crisis in Odessa has proved the worth of the EPA, an agency the Trump administration has considered eliminating.