NOON, WEDNESDAY, Feb. 28: A massive plume of smoke is wafting over the city of Hamilton this morning after a fire broke out at Marsh Folly.

The fire is believed to have started just before 9am.

Police have asked people to stay out of the area for the next 12 hours and for residents to exercise caution.

Spokesman Dwayne Caines said: "This is a very active area. We want people to as much as possible avoid the area. People that live nearby, where the smoke is heaviest, may want to make alternative arrangements." Nearby schools, including Victor Scott and Dellwood Middle School, are still in session.

Witnesses arriving to work in the nearby Parsons Road area said they suspected trouble when they saw a small amount of smoke coming out of a 30ft mound of old dry foliage at Marsh Folly - still known colloquially as Pembroke Dump. Within an hour, the mound ignited and quickly spread to other piles of greenery.

Firefighters are on the scene and are understood to have the fire under control. No-one is believed to have been injured.

The smoke emanating from the blaze had commuters gazing up to the sky as they tried to make sense of where it was coming from. Closer to the fire though, neighbours were unalarmed, saying they remember the days when there was a fire at the dump nearly every other day.

Jimmy Dock, 57, who grew up off Parsons Road, said: "They used to burn everything up here, all the trash, cars, bikes, trucks. All this does is take me down memory lane. People who grew up around here are used to this kind of thing."

The dump is now used to store garden waste and other vegetation.

One bystander told us: "What they do is they drop it off at the dump, let it dry up and put it in a machine to make mulch. It can get so dry in there and so hot that it doesn't take much to start a fire."

The core of the fire is a good distance away from any buildings. The main concern appears to be smoke inhalation.

The Bermuda Fire Service is holding at lunchtime press conference. More updates later.

Click here to see more pictures.