The St. Clair County Commission declared a state of emergency Tuesday regarding an underground landfill fire that was first reported in late November.

The declaration will allow the county to get funding and legal authority to help battle the blaze.

The fire in Moody has caused smoke to fill the air for miles and impacted residents in nearby cities, including Trussville. Trussville City Schools (TCS) interim Superintendent Frank Costanzo sent a parent and employee notification Tuesday saying TCS is working with the Jefferson County Health Department and the St. Clair County EMA to monitor air quality at schools.

"Until we receive an 'all clear,' we will take the necessary precautions to help ensure the safety of our students, including limiting all outdoor activities," the notification read. "Students with respiratory issues will be encouraged to stay indoors. If your student suffers from a respiratory condition, please make sure that your school nurse is aware of this and has any necessary medication on hand to treat this condition if needed."

The Environmental Landfill is at 1317 Annie Lee Road, in Moody, just over seven miles from the TCS central office. The landfill is permitted for natural debris such as leaves, limbs and trees. The debris has been layered with dirt for years, and any materials dumped there that could start a fire have not been identified.

The Moody Fire Department has been in contact with the Alabama Forestry Commission, the St. Clair County EMA and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). ADEM said in a news release last week that the landfill is not subject to state regulatory oversight or permits because it is not authorized to accept household garbage or hazardous waste. The agency said it had connected the commission with private companies that have expertise in dealing with underground fires.

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