Status Update June 1st 2019

Status Update JUNE 1st 2019

“In speaking with the contractor working the site; other than seeking hot spots and getting the last bit of hot ash excavated, they cannot locate any source of fire, combustion, or potential source of re-ignition. This of course will need to be confirmed, but things appear to be going well” – Tom Judson BVPOA-COO 

Property Owners Drone Video 6-1-2019







May 28, 2019 – Report of on-site work the Bella Vista POA has completed for Phase 1:

Excavation activities were performed

Hot spots are being identified and addresses in the other areas, guided by thermal measurements

Water discharge occurred from the site as a result of the rainfall and fire-fighting water

Overnight crews continued to manage site security and addressed the potential for flare-ups

Aeration system was operated to aerate the water prior to discharge through the weir

Water samples are collected daily from the discharge point of the weir

Air monitoring was performed before, during, and after the event consistent with the Air Monitoring, Noise Monitoring, and Hazard Communication Plan

The air quality measurements from yesterday, May 27th, show a few locations with elevated concentrations of particulate above the action levels


May 27, 2019 – Report of on-site work the Bella Vista POA has completed for Phase 1: 

Excavation activities were performed

Hot spots are being identified and addresses in the other areas, guided by thermal measurements

An exploratory trench was dug near the southern boundary of the Site to identify background temperature readings

The excavated materials had no evidence of burning or ash, and no smoke was observed

Air Curtain Technology will be used 24/7 to address the accumulation of large tree trunks and stumps

The Air Curtain Technology was re-loaded with material this morning, which caused a reduction in temperature and an increase in smoke emissions for a limited amount of time until temperatures increased to operating temperatures

Water discharge occurred from the site as a result of the rainfall and fire-fighting water

Overnight crews continued to manage site security and addressed the potential for flare-ups

Aeration system was operated to aerate the water prior to discharge through the weir

Water samples are collected daily from the discharge point of the weir

Air monitoring was performed before, during, and after the event consistent with the Air Monitoring, Noise Monitoring, and Hazard Communication Plan

The air quality measurements from yesterday, May 26th, show no exceedances of action levels






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Status Update TUESDAY May 14th 2019

Status Update TUESDAY May 14th 2019
Latest Updates


The following major activities were completed today or are underway by the Bella Vista Property Owners Association, pursuant to the May 3, 2019 Settlement Agreement:

  • Revised and finalized the Air Monitoring, Noise Monitoring, and Hazard Communication Plan
  • Revised and finalized the Phase I Remedial Action Plan
  • Prepared for mobilization to the Site, starting May 15, 2019
  • Submitted necessary permit applications to ADEQ to start construction

This work has been completed in accordance with the requirements of the Settlement Agreement.

May 14, 2019

Second In the Know special edition regarding Trafalgar Fire questions.

Bella Vista POA Releases 2nd In the Know Video Regarding Trafalger Road Fire

Drone Flight May 9th 2019

“The smoke will get worse before it gets better. It will likely be worse than what we have seen on the bad days” 


May 14, 2019 – ADH’s latest review of particulate matter air monitoring near the Trafalgar Road fire for dates April 25-May 8 has been posted:

Do you want to tell your story to help our cause?

Would you like to get help those who are in need? 


Neighbors Helping Neighbors Campaign – Local Man Helps Trafalger Road Fire families in need.

Joseph Bollinger has lived in Benton County and the Bella Vista area for 32 years. He ran for Justice of the Peace in 2018 and part of his campaign focused on unity, government transparency, and community involvement.

His wife, Rebecca, and 3 children are all very active in our community and they believe that it’s vital for communities to stick together and have neighbors helping neighbors.

Joseph Bollinger

As soon as Joseph heard about the underground fire in the east side of Bella Vista, he became involved in the efforts to spread awareness and to do whatever he could to help his neighbors affected by the fire.

In December he began distributing N95 masks that he purchased to those who are most affected by this fire, and the demand was high. He then decided to create a GoFundMe which then raised a little over $800.

With this money he began to reach out the vendors and was able to purchase 201 adult, and 50 children washable and reusable masks.

These masks will allow our neighbors who are most affected by this tragedy to be able to have a reusable PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) device that they can have until this Trafalger Fire is remedied.

While our local, state, and federal governments work to find a solution on extinguishing the fire, individuals such as Joseph Bollinger are taking matters into their own hands to do whatever is possible to help those in most need of assistance.

Box of Washable N-95 Particulate Masks

Joseph is working with Street Captains to distribute these masks to residents.

You can also contact Joseph through his Facebook Page.

Lowes of N. Bentonville – Offering Discounts and individual assistance to help victims of the Trafalger Road Fire.

Store Manager -Store 2230

Mr. Ryan Kelly (Store Manager -Store 2230 ) has made the decision at the local level to assist Bella Vista residents.

Mr. Kelly Stated “We have been pretty much wiped out of certain air filters and air purifiers up until this week and our commitment going forward is to stay in-stock and run these discounts until this situation is under control.”

A phone call to thank Mr. Kelly was placed from the coalition thanking him for his assistance to help residents. Mr. Kelly said that he spoke with 3M at a meeting and they have worked to get filters “delivered ahead of schedule”

Below are the discount offerings that Lowe’s of N. Bentonville is proposing to offer: 

40% off of all in-stock disposable masks

33% off of all in-stock air filters

20% off of all in-stock air purifiers 

Mr. Kelly also stated “Beyond these discounts, we will continue to work with residents on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, If you hear of any residents that are in need of extra assistance, or if there are any volunteer efforts that we could help with, please let me know.”

If Mr. Kelly is not in the store he stated Residents can talk to any member of management and they will do their best to assist people with their specific needs.

Lowes Home Improvement

1100 NW Lowes Ave, Bentonville, AR 72712

(479) 657-7500

Letters from the Impacted – The Whitlock Family

A little back story about my family. The Whitlock’s consist of Me, Kyle, my wife, Essica, and my 4-year-old twins, Kylie and Knox. We purchase our home on Sean Lane in late 2015. This was definitely our dream home. See we moved from a home on the West side of Bella Vista once our kids were born. Four people in a 1,000-sq. ft. home was not working for me, I needed a little space. Our home now is over 2,500-sq. ft. and has a multi-story deck on the back with a relatively flat yard (if you live in Bella Vista you know what I mean). Last year I built a privacy fence and a swing set in the back yard because my kids love to be outside. Needless to say we WERE living the American Dream.

I was in Afghanistan when my First Sargent woke me up and said “get packed your ride leaves in 4 hours.” I was sent home by Red Cross because my wife was pregnant with my twins and they didn’t think my daughter was going to make it due to complications during the pregnancy. Luckily everything worked out. We had our kids September 8, 2014 and together they weighed 9 lbs. Since birth my kids have had two unscheduled doctor visits, one each, my son for an ear infection when he was 3 and my daughter for an allergic reaction to poison ivy last year. Did I mention they were 5 weeks early? For me other than a torn meniscus I received during my 1st tour of duty, the only doctor visit I have had was to have a benign tumor removed from my lower back in 2017. Doctor asked me who my primary care physician was and I said, “I guess it’s you.” My wife hasn’t seen a doctor for anything unrelated to the pregnancy in several years. Webster’s definition of healthy family reads have you met the Whitlock’s.

The past six months for us gets worse every day. It started when I would get ready to leave for work in the morning and my truck would be covered in ash for several days in a row. We found out that there was a fire at the stump dump about 600 feet away from our house. For the next several weeks the smell would come and go but to my knowledge it was just some tree clippings on fire and there was no reason for alarm. Once the ash stopped but the smoke continued I knew this wasn’t going to be over soon. It was early October that the smoke finally penetrated our home. We had gotten used to it being in the garage and around our house but now it is inside. I can recall several nights that my kids would wake up screaming and crying because they were coughing. The lower floor of our home was the worst, it is a walk-out style basement more or less built into the ground. The smoke and smell outside would get worse with the wind but it lingered in my lower floor. It was not affected by the wind. The underground fire is releasing its smoke and smell outward before it reaches ground level. It was at this point that we quit using our lower floor of our house. Still my family made due with it because our City and State leaders never mentioned anything other than a small underground fire that only consisted of organic materials.

It wasn’t until later, that I noticed information starting to leak out on Facebook that was saying that there weren’t just tree limbs and stumps in the fire. Some of my neighbors started a Town Hall meeting on December 1st. Up to this point I really had no understanding how bad this situation really was. I was under the assumption that it was no different than a fire in your fireplace. The City of Bella Vista, POA, ADEQ and whoever else was in this meeting did nothing for the people who are in close proximity to this fire. One lady, I believe from ADEQ, was asked a direct question if she would allow her kids to play in this smoke, and she said YES. At the time I believed her. And actually felt bad when a few people from the audience booed her. But now, since all this evidence has come out about what is actually burning, I cannot fathom what our leaders are thinking. A few things that are document and known to be in this fire include: plastics, gas, oil, cans, car batteries, tires, metals, pvc piping, just a couple days ago it was noted that they pulled a car bumper and a transmission out. I was extremely naive to believe that the local and State Government agencies were here to protect their people. To date, not a single person, flyer or anything at my doorstep to let me know what is burning in this pit 600 feet from my home. But if you drive by the site, the City of Bella Vista has managed to build a substantial building directly over the dump. The amount of unanswered questions is unfathomable.

I’ve now been to the doctor on January 16th, due to a hack and cough that I have developed over the last couple months that won’t go away. My wife has developed the same symptoms over the last couple weeks to the point where she is losing her voice. My kids cough and have blood in their mucus when they blow their nose. I finally ordered my first pair of glasses, been wearing contacts for over 20 years, due to my dry eyes and irritation that has become a constant in my families lives. Our medical bills are starting to pile up. I wish we could afford to move or stay in a safer environment. The worst part is I believe this is only the beginning. Some of the worst days we have had were when they were digging the trench on the south side. The amount of smoke was inconceivable. It is my understanding that the best way to proceed forward to put out the fire is to dig it all up. This is will cause unimaginable harm to my family and all my close neighbors.

Letters From The Impacted – Lewis Family

If you’d asked me a few months ago, name the dates that have impacted your life, I’d have said, the day I got married, the day I had my daughter, and the day I moved to Bella Vista to finish out my career and retire.  My husband and I purchased our retirement home in August of 2017 after relocating to Bella Vista 4yrs prior.  It was completely remodeled to make it just like we wanted, and we moved in March 15th 2018.  After returning from vacation at the end of July, we began smelling smoke and were told there was a “stump dump fire” burning nearby.  A little research and I found that the Fire Department said it was under control and it was expected it to be out within a week.  Time passed and we still smelled smoke outdoors occasionally.  A little more research found a Facebook post from the Fire Department saying it would be out by the end of the month (September).  October came and went and the smoke and smell intensified.  It made it almost impossible to be outside. In November it was infiltrating my home, vehicles and body.  It was obvious the city fire dept had failed to follow through on either time line and I decided it was time to get more involved.

We could no longer maintain the exterior of our home and yard, enjoy our deck with the view that we purchased our house for.  The little things like grilling outside, getting the mail, and taking out the trash had to be worked around this stench that had taken over our lives.  We could no longer take our pets outside without wearing a mask.  Our clothes stank.  My hair stank.  Even our pets stank!  Our quality of life was plummeting.

I began contacting other neighbors seeking answers and after hearing another neighbors research of the Purple Air Sensors, I purchased 2.  One for my home and one for a neighbor on the opposite side of the fire.  My greatest fears came true after seeing the Purple Air Readings.  The particulate matter had spikes with readings in the unhealthy range a large part of the time. The toxins were revealed in the EPA’s report and in further information I received from citizens.  What the public was being told was steam from a stump dump fire was actually toxic burning materials that were out of control. The particulate matter was off the charts at times and the EPA confirmed we lived in a hazardous area.

My husband and I had been healthy empty nesters looking forward to the next chapter of our lives prior to July 292018.  Now, we both suffer from health issues.  I have experienced burning skin, burning nose, burning eyes, asthma, B-12 Deficiency, low oxygen capacity, increased blood pressure, severe headaches, tingling extremities, and even stroke like neurological symptoms.   Multiple blood tests and x-rays have been done, next on the list is a chest CT.  I struggle at work to focus, I’m fatigued, I’m short of breath and my husband suffers the same.  WE WERE HEALTHY!  When I begged my doctor for help and asked what I could do, the response was simple, “remove yourself from the environment”.  He advised all symptoms were environmental and consistent with the affects of the toxic fire.  

I couldn’t imagine leaving my home or where we would go, until December 10th when we awoke to a home filled with stench and smoke.  We both struggled to breath all because we went to sleep and left our heat on.  The furnace had drafted the toxins into our home through our pet door and garage.  It had come inside before, but nothing to this extent.  December 10th changed everything.  When my husband went 3 hours struggling to breath, when I went 6 hours with neurological and breathing issues.  Dec 10th was the day that I COULD imagine leaving my home.  The home I imagined growing old with my husband, rocking on the deck looking at the beautiful scenery; the home we put our life savings into; the home we imagined having our future grandchildren come visit.   After December 10th, we couldn’t imagine staying in our home.  We took our pets and the essentials and moved into our RV to escape our own home and the affects the Trafalgar Road Fire has had on it.

Regardless of smoke or smell, I still become ill when I go back to my own home to check on things or try to do laundry.  I am living a nightmare.  The dates that now dominate my life.

·         July 29th 2018 – 189 Days since the fire was started on top of the dump

·         December 10th 2018 – 59 days since the day we decided we had to leave our home

·         December 25th 2018 – the first Christmas my family has ever spent Christmas other than in our home

·         February 11th, 2019 – 189 days and still no plan for remediation, no evacuation, and no health issues addressed!

When will someone take action and end this for my family and my neighbors?  What will it take before they evacuate, a death?   We cannot remain silent.  We must scream from the rooftops! Neighbors must rise up and be heard.  Children are sick, elderly are sick, healthy adults are sick, even our pets are sick!  Homes are unlivable! This is affecting peoples mental, physical and financial well being. It is inhumane the way we have been abandoned to breath this toxic air.  Someone please evacuate us and put the fire out!  SAVE THE VILLAGE!

Stacey & Bart Lewis (932 Ft)