As the nine acre mulch fire on Ailor Avenue in Knoxville smoldered on approaching the 48 hour mark, officials carried over the Code Red air quality alert from Monday.
A Code Red means the air is unhealthy for anyone. Authorities are urging people to stay indoors as much as possible.
The Knoxville Fire Department has set up eight portable air monitoring stations near the fire. The main thing they are registering is carbon monoxide. It is only a concern if you are in a direct line of the smoke for a prolonged amount of time.
Firefighters are taking shifts in and out in order to stay healthy.
"We have masks, we rotate them in and out, they are not allowed to stay in what we consider the hot zone for an extended period of time. We also monitor their vital signs and their blood gases. [Too much] and they are taken off the line," said KFD Asst. Chief Steven Fowler.
Overnight, the wind had shifted moving the smoke away from I-40.
Firefighters had been working for more than two days to extinguish the fire pumping 90,000 gallons per hour, and it may be days before the fire is completely out.
It's grueling work for firefighters, but some help is on the way. When 10News learned that KFD was having to buy their own water and food to keep the firefighters going, we called a few friends.
Just before noon, Kroger dropped off cases of water to help the firefighters. Firehouse Subs, Arbys, and Hard Knox Pizza will also be delivering food to the firefighters over the next couple of days. We send them a big Straight from the Heart thank you!!
The Knox County Health Department has raised the air quality alert from Orange to Red.
Red status means the air is unhealthy for everyone.
The health department recommends that everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outside. People with heart or lung disease, young children and older adults should avoid outdoors physical activities.
Anyone experiencing worsening conditions should contact their doctor.
The public is advised to stay indoors with air conditioning set to recirculate inside air if possible.
If anyone is unable to stay indoors, they are encouraged to go to the American Red Cross Chapter House at 6921 Middlebrook Pike.
In a joint press release, both the Knox County Mayor and Mayor of Knoxville declared Monday a Code Orange air quality alert day due to smoke from a mulch fire that has been burning for over 24 hours.
A Code Orange alert means the following groups should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion: people with heart or lung disease, and children and older adults. Everyone else should limit prolonged or heavy exertion.
Officials say people living near the Ailor Avenue fire should leave windows closed and should switch AC units to recirculate air, not bring new air in.
Red Cross Chapter House at 6921 Middlebrook Pike will help anyone without air conditioning.
Schools near the mulch fire are also taking precautions.
The smoke from the 30 foot high piles can be seen for miles and is causing visibility issues on Alcoa Highway, I-40 and Middlebrook Pike.
A haze of smoke blanketed much of Knoxville causing low visibility as a mulch fire off of Ailor Avenue entered its second day.
10News' Allison Bybee reported from the fire Monday morning.
Bybee says crews have been fighting the fire all night at Shamrock Organics Products. More firefighters joined them just before 8:00 a.m.
As of Monday morning there was no official cause of the mulch fire which began before noon Sunday.
Officials expect some of the smoke to linger for days.
That smoke and haze is blanketing Knoxville prompting officials to ask drivers to add time to their commute.
Stay with 10News and wbir.com for more information throughout the day.
The two firefighters transported to the hospital after suffering minor injuries on the scene of a large mulch fire, are back to work.
According to a 10News Crew at the scene those two firefighters have returned to help put out the fire at Shamrock Organic Products on Ailor Avenue.
Two Knoxville firefighters were transported to the hospital Sunday afternoon after suffering minor injuries on the scene of a large mulch fire.
A passerby reported it just before 11:30 at Shamrock Organic Products on Ailor Avenue.
One firefighter suffered an eye injury while the other, who is an unpaid explorer with the department, suffered smoke inhalation.
Capt. Mark Wilbanks said the wind was causing major problems for crews on the scene, and the hot and dry weather was not helping either.
He said the fire is not threatening other structures or property but added that it would be late into the evening before the fire was fully contained.
He said the earlier plan to send in bulldozers to break up the mulch had to be scrapped because of the intensity of the burning mulch and the shifting operation.
Around 40 firefighters from nine companies were on the scene.
Firefighters say several fires have broken out at that facility in the past.
Knoxville firefighters were on the scene of a large mulch fire Sunday afternoon.
The fire broke out at the Shamrock Organic Products facility on Ailor Avenue in Northwest Knoxville. A passerby reported it just before 11:30 a.m.
Firefighters said several large piles of mulch already have been put out, but the labor-intensive work is expected to take several more hours.
The facility, which encompasses two acres, deals in organics, including mulch, which naturally heats up over time, which can lead to a fire.
The plan is to have bulldozers break apart that mulch as firefighters douse it with water.
Strong winds have helped to spread the fire, and smoke could be seen billowing over Interstate 40.
Crews were working to contain the fire to stop it from spreading to neighboring properties.
Back in April 2000, a lightning strike sparked a mulch fire at the same facility.
Check back to wbir.com for more on this developing story.