Puerto Rico’s National Guard has been deployed to help fight a large fire at a landfill in the U.S. Virgin Islands that has been burning for more than a week and has forced schools and businesses to close, officials said Friday.
Helicopters descended to collect seawater and help fight the fire at the Bovoni landfill on the island of St. Thomas, prompting US Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan to declare a state of emergency this week.
The Puerto Rico National Guard said it provided 60,000 gallons of water during its mission. Meanwhile, the US Virgin Islands National Guard poured more than 11,000 gallons of water on the fire.
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The Virgin Islands Daily News, a local newspaper, reported that the fire started spontaneously on September 14 in an area of rotting vegetation that had accumulated after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the area in 2017.
Officials have told residents near the landfill to stay indoors and have warned of possible water contamination