Feb 17, 2023 - News

Doral trash incinerator fire still burning amid fears of air pollution

The blue warehouse of the Covanta Energy Incineration Plant back in April 2022.

The Covanta Energy Incineration Plant back in April 2022.

A fire at a Doral facility that incinerates about half of Miami-Dade County's garbage has been burning for nearly a week.

Catch up fast: Roughly 200 firefighters responded to the blaze at the Covanta Energy Incineration Plant on Sunday, which sent black smoke into the sky. The cause of the fire is still unclear.

  • Crews started demolishing the warehouse's walls on Wednesday to reach the center of the fire, the Miami Herald reports.
  • As of Thursday, county officials said during a press conference that the fire was still burning in two buildings and 100 firefighters were on scene.
  • The county recommends that nearby residents stay indoors to avoid exposure to the smoky air.

Background: The incinerator, built in 1985, burns more than a million tons of garbage annually. Covanta is operating the facility on a five-year contract with the county.

  • Nearby residents have long complained about a terrible smell, trouble breathing and the incinerator's effect on property values. Some have called for it to be shut down.
  • Last year, when the facility's air permit was up for renewal with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, community groups such as Florida Rising spoke out against it.
  • Environmental legal nonprofit Earthjustice filed a complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency last March, alleging that the DEP had discriminated against residents of Doral — which has a majority Spanish-speaking population — by not providing information in Spanish during the process.

The latest: Earthjustice is now calling for more transparency about air testing and asking the EPA to conduct a full investigation into the cause of the fire.

What they're saying: "We are monitoring this to make sure there are no toxic elements," said county Mayor Daniela Levine Cava.

What's we're watching: The county will post updates on the fire here.

Of note: Trash collection is normal, but there could be some delays.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Miami.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Miami stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Miami.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more