STRONG winds caused concerns for firefighters keeping a close eye on a blaze at a wood recycling centre.

The fire, which has been smouldering away since Christmas Eve, was getting whipped up by today’s (Friday, December 27) blustery weather causing a fear that the fire could easily reignite.

However, the heavy rain was helping to dampen down the fire at the UK Wood Recycling plant at Wilton Works near Redcar.

As a result of smoke billowing from the site, a road closure has been put in place today between the Lackenby and Westgate roundabout.

The A174 is also closed in both directions between A1085 / Marske Road / Quarry Lane (Quarry Lane Roundabout) and B1268 / Hob Hill Lane.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “The wind was causing a bit of concern as it seemed to by bringing it back to life and we were called to close the roads when the smoke started causing problems for motorists.

“Thankfully, the rain helped to dampen down the embers but the roads were closed as a precaution.”

Nine fire crews remain on ‘protective standby’ at the site but they are not actively tackling the fire as they wait for it to naturally burn out.

A spokeswoman for UK Wood Recycling said: "We would like to reassure local residents that everything is being done to contain the fire in a controlled manner.

"The Cleveland Fire Brigade is in handling the situation along with the fire service from SembCorp Utilities and we are very grateful to them for their support.

"The fire has escalated as a result of the extremely high winds over the past few days. We would like to apologise to local residents for any inconvenience caused."

Cleveland Fire Brigade expect to be on site for another two or three days until the fire burns itself out.

A Brigade spokesman said: "The winds are presenting us with difficulties at the moment but we have sufficient resources and are working closely with SembCorp Utilities to control the fire, which is the best course of action."