TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — An area the size of a basketball court is expected to continue burning for days according to fire officials.

Terre Haute Fire Chief Bill Berry said residents may have noticed smoke coming from an area of private property belonging to Dennis Trucking. Berry says numerous logs, stumps and compost, buried in a valley on the southwest corner of the Dennis Trucking property, continue to burn.

Kathi LaPointe, a nearby resident, said the smoke was at times overwhelming.

“At some times, when you’re outside, it’s just like you’re literally driving through a smoke cloud. Or walking through a smoke cloud,” she said.

The cause of the underground fire remains undetermined. Berry said both the Terre Haute Fire Department and Sugar Creek Fire have responded to the area over the past few days to wet things down in an attempt to control the burn.

“I just want to make sure that they all understand that we’re safe here,” Berry said. “There’s no hazard to the environment, there’s no hazard to anybody’s health.”  

Berry clarified this fire is not related to previous underground fires in Terre Haute that were electrical in nature.

“[The downtown fires have] no connection whatsoever with this,” he said. “We’re safe here in Terre Haute, we’re not going to fall into a big fire hole.”

Berry added the owner of the property has assisted in excavating the buried materials so they can be extinguished. Berry expects the smoke to take days to completely go away.

LaPointe said she wishes nearby residents could’ve been better informed on the ongoing situation.

“In my opinion, especially because it does affect people, the air quality and it affects people with health issues, there should have been an announcement made about it so that people can take precautions,” she said.

According to Berry, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has been on the scene and agrees with how the department and landowners are remedying this scene.

Berry reminds area residents the property is private and asks people not to trespass in the area.