Residents of an apartment complex near Madrid returned home on Saturday following a fire at a nearby tire dump that produced a massive cloud of thick, toxic smoke the day prior, but not with the all clear—officials recommended that residents keep windows shut and wear surgical masks when outside.
The Castilla-La Mancha regional government did rule that danger is now lower in the area—which lies just outside of Madrid, in the town of Sesena, Spain—according to U.S. News & World Report. No injuries were reported in the incident. Smoke engulfed the area near the dump early on Friday, reportedly containing 110,000 tons of used tires and with the cloud rising over 2,300 feet into the sky. Per U.S. News & World Report, authorities believe the fire was intentional but cannot further investigate until the embers cool down.
The L.A. Times reports that about 70 percent of the tires burned by Friday night, and that people could see the smoke cloud over 20 miles away in Madrid. According to the L.A. Times, the dump is known locally as the “tire cemetery” and authorities deemed it illegal in 2003 due to lacking proper permits.
Authorities haven’t decided just what to do with the area since deeming it illegal, and these photos from the BBC show how much of a wasteland it looks to be. Per the L.A. Times, Sesena mayor Carlos Velazquez told a radio station that the dump is believed to be Europe’s largest at more than 25 acres of land.
According to U.S. News & World Report, online newspaper El Espanol published a document on Saturday that detailed a proposal for the future of the tire dump from just a few days prior to the fire. The proposal came from a government-owned industrial-waste management company called EMGRISA on May 9, suggesting that the regional government should take over the dump in order to turn it into an energy source.
Here are a few more photos from the scene, from the Associated Press: