The cause of the fire at the Resource Recovery Centre in Moss Vale has been revealed.
The fire, which began on January 4, lasted for several weeks before Fire and Rescue NSW were able to extinguish it.
A spokesperson at Fire and Rescue NSW revealed to the Southern Highland News that FRNSW had investigated the cause of this fire and "determined it was due to spontaneous combustion."
"FRNSW received the triple zero call at 11:54 am on January 4 2020," they said.
"The fire was found to have originated in a mulch pile within the complex."
At the ordinary meeting of Wingecarribee Shire Council on July 22, Councillor Garry Turland called for a report into the fire.
Mayor Duncan Gair said that he had driven past the fire on the day and that it had appeared to have been started near the fence line.
"The CCTV camera that was attached to the wall of the shed showed the fire coming across the earth bank. The CCTV in the sale yard complex does not face the RRC direction and could not pick up anything from there," he said.
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Cr Gair also said that it appeared that the fire started from near the fence.
Acting general manager Barry Paull said that while he didn't know the exact cause of the fire, it appeared that it "started outside the perimeter of the RRC and it came over the back".
"The CCTV vision that we have is very limited, but it does indicate that's where the fire started," he said.
"The most volatile green waste material is not shredded organic matter, [but] the raw green waste matter because often it is contaminated.
"Often people put things in their green bins that they aren't supposed to like oily rags and ashes from stoves and all sorts of things."
Mr Paull said the council complied with the EPA guidelines when questioned by Councillor Ian Scandrett.
"We comply with all the requirements. The only thing I will say is this; We were in the middle of a bushfire prior to the [RRC] fire," he said.
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"The days prior to the fire we got absolutely smashed by the general public cleaning out their backyards where we had, in one day, 790 vehicles through the Resource Recovery Centre. Probably 80-90 per cent of those vehicles brought in green waste.
"Because we were in a bushfire situation we were unable to get contractors down here to remove that material."
A spokesperson from the NSW Environment Protection Authority said they were working with Wingecarribee Shire Council.
"The EPA is providing advice to the Wingecarribee Shire Council to support the establishment of better onsite practices at the Moss Vale Resource Recovery Centre to ensure that all waste and compost is managed appropriately," they said.
A previous fire broke out at the RRC on July 25, 2016 within the green waste disposal area. Wingecarribee Shire Council was fined $8000 by the EPA in January 2017 in relation to that fire.
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