MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A mulch fire is sending smoke high over South Memphis.
Shelby County Health Department said residents that live within a mile of the fire should avoid exerting themselves outdoors.
The fire started smoldering Sunday afternoon at Michael's Tree loader Services near the intersection of Knight Arnold and Getwell Road.
The owner of the business said the fire is suspicious, because it started in their brush and log pile--not in the mulch pile. He said Memphis Fire Department is investigating the cause.
The slow burning mulch kept Memphis firefighters busy around the clock, but they said the flames are not threatening any nearby homes or businesses.
"The smell was really the main problem," neighbor Pam Walker said. "It was just a huge plume of black dark smoke."
Neighbors like Walker who live around Getwell and Knight Arnold roads have been forced to deal with the side effects of the massive mulch fire since the weekend.
"I really didn't know what was going on," resident Larry Hendrix said.
Westbound lanes on Knight Arnold Road are closed between Lamar Avenue and Getwell Road. Drivers are using the turn lane to pass.
The rain that fell Monday morning may not provide much relief. As firefighters demonstrated in April when a mulch fire near Summer Avenue raged for days, a soaking on top of the mulch pile may not reach the smoldering level underneath.
Fortunately, no air quality alerts have been issued for the area, though nearby residents have complained of the smell.
"The smell, it gets all through the house and it gets through the vents," Walker said.
"You never know how it may be. You have some older people here and it may effect them differently," Hendrix said. "I think it's something they need to get taken care of as soon as possible."
SCHD released the following statement Monday morning: