MOORHEAD — For the last several days, Fargo-Moorhead residents may have noticed a smoky aroma permeating the area.

But while it is not uncommon to catch a whiff of wood smoke in the air during the warmer months, the smell isn't coming from a bonfire or barbecue.

A fire at the city Yard Waste Compost Site off Highway 75 in northeast Moorhead has been burning since Friday, July 17, and officials expect it to continue for at least several more days, according to assistant city fire marshal Chad Stangeland. The fire started amid heavy winds from a thunderstorm Friday and for days has been burning up wood, wood chips, and yard waste stored there.

On Monday, July 20, crews continued to work to cool down smoldering hot spots and burning a pile of compacted wood chips.

"That's going to burn for a while," said Steve Moore, Moorhead's public works director, of the pile.

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Moore and his crews have been working closely with the Moorhead Fire Department, with some of those crew members being street workers.

"We've been seal-coating streets, so we put that on hold, so we can focus all our efforts towards this fire," Moore said.

Stangeland says the fire is under control and the smoke should not present any public health hazard.

"It was a sizable area that had the fire," Stangeland said. "That area has a lot of different stored heavy timber that was collected over the years, and some of those were already wood chipped and piled up. And we had regular compost from grass clippings. This area stores all of that yard waste and wood material."

Public works crews continued working to contain the fire on Monday, but the fire needs to cool down before they can get heavy machinery into the area to pile up material to extinguish it. The other possibility is for the fire to heat up enough that it will burn itself out safely.

"We're working with Moorhead Public Works to find a solution," Stangeland said. "We're looking at all of the different options right now to see what is going ... to either burn it clean or to extinguish it."

There was also a fire at the Fargo landfill on Friday, but crews extinguished that fire on Saturday afternoon. The Fargo Fire Department initially responded to piles of mulch burning on Friday afternoon, but landfill staff took over on Friday evening, according to a city of Fargo news release. High temperatures and heavy winds posed a challenge for crews fighting the blaze.

WDAY's Tanner Robinson contributed to this report