Environmental impact of oil blaze.

As always when large quantities of a substance like oil are involved, the depot fire at holds the potential to cause environmental damage.

However, there is little sign of any impact so far.

Compared with the oil-well fires which raged in during its turbulent recent history, the quantities involved at Buncefield are small.

"It's similar, except there's only one location and fires will burn for a short time," said Professor Ian Colbeck, from University, who worked on the Iraq fires.

"But data measured over large areas of southern show elevated concentrations of particulate matter - not so high that it can become a serious hazard, but five or six times background levels," he told BBC News.

"If you're susceptible to asthma or respiratory problems the advice would be to stay indoors."

Particulate matter is basically soot, and comes in different sizes; smaller particles are known to be carcinogenic in sufficient quantities, but Professor Colbeck said this is unlikely to be an issue with a one-off fire.

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