TOKYO (majirox news) — Firefighters across the Tohoku Region have reported numerous outbreaks of blazes from piles of rubble accumulated from the wreckage left by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region.
Experts have urged authorities to categorize rubble and pile it separately to avoid it bursting into flames.
Masashide Wakakura, an advisor to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, said there could be a variety of reasons for the piles of wreckage to spontaneously combust, including bacterial activity or heat created by metals reacting to water.
Local governments are planning to run pipes through huge piles of rubble to air them and prevent heat building up.
Fire departments have reported 13 rubble blazes in Miyagi prefecture, and steam or smoke erupting from the mountains of wreckage on an additional 13 occasions, as well as 11 similar instances in Iwate prefecture rubble.