"Landfills can be controversial in and of themselves. Homeowners and business owners tend not to support the siting and development of landfills in their neighborhoods due to perceived notions about noxious fumes, health and environmental effects, and adverse influences on property values. Fires occurring in landfill sites are an ongoing, complex problem that has existed for decades. Although relatively uncommon, fires in landfills generally receive substantial media attention and have the potential to become politically damaging events. Landfill fires threaten the environment through toxic pollutants emitted into the air, water, and soil. Landfill fires are particularly challenging to the fire service. A large landfill fire normally requires numerous personnel and a significant period of time before it is contained. Both of these circumstances can strain a jurisdiction, particularly one dependent on volunteer staffing. Landfill operators, members of the fire service, and community residents need to learn as much as possible from past experience to prevent and mitigate future landfill fires."
U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/