An explosion in a garbage pile caused a fire at the Montezuma County landfill Monday morning about 10:30 a.m.
Cortez firefighters responded, and with assistance from landfill staff, put out the fire in about an hour.
The landfill was closed until 2:30 p.m. so workers could stabilize the fire site and cap it with 18 inches of soil. No injuries were reported. The cause of the explosion was unknown.
The explosion occurred as a heavy machinery operator moved garbage in a new disposal cell. The operator tried to extinguish the fire, but it quickly grew, prompting a call to the Cortez Fire District.
Six Cortez firefighters, an engine and a water tender responded to the fire, which initially put off heavy flames and a large black plume of smoke. Crews used water, then foam to smother the fire. Landfill staff broke up the area with heavy equipment and mixed it with soil, then capped it with more soil. The fire did not reach an expensive new cell liner. The area of the fire is deemed safe and is back in landfill operations.