Firefighting is likely to continue at a waste transfer site on the outskirts of Devizes for several days, after fire broke out last night.

Wiltshire firefighters were initially called to the Grist Environmental Material Recovery Facility on Monument Hill, Stert at 11.10pm, where some 200-300 tonnes of residual waste were well alight.

Three fire crews initially attended; a watching brief was maintained overnight, during which time the fire was brought under control and contained. There are currently three fire appliances and two water carriers at the scene, with firefighters being supported by on-site staff in moving waste affected by the fire so it can be drenched with water and made safe.

As of this afternoon, a high volume pump from Christchurch will be based near the site to provide a better water supply. While this is in use, temporary traffic lights will be installed on the A342 as the hose lines will need to cross the carriageway. These lights will be in place until the fire is extinguished.

Group Manager Richard Coleman said: “Once we start getting a more constant water supply onto the fire, the smoke plume will intensify, and we apologise to local residents who may be concerned by this. However, this approach is intended to bring the fire to a close more quickly, which will be to the benefit of everyone. If anyone is concerned about the smoke, they are advised to keep doors and windows closed.”

He added: “Colleagues in Wiltshire Council have installed air monitoring equipment in the area, and all of the contaminated water is contained within the site’s bunded area, which is being cleared regularly to protect the watercourse. We anticipate maintaining our current approach for the next couple of days, and ask people to bear with us while this work is on-going.”

The fire is under investigation and is believed to have started accidentally, although the exact cause may never be established.