Company director James Grist, of Wiltshire Waste (Recycling), played down talk of being a hero in his successful efforts to stop the blaze spreading to other parts of the site at the foot of Monument Hill, near Devizes.

Mr Grist worked through the night of January 28 when the fire broke out and the following day driving the excavator to contain the burning material in one part of the site.

He and another colleague have been working on the excavator ever since, turning over the smouldering rubbish.

Mr Grist, 24, said: “When I arrived at the site the fire was just smoke and about a quarter of an hour later the flames came and we thought we had better save the kit that was needed and to stop it spreading to the picking line where about 26 members of staff work.

“If that got burnt they would be out of a job for a while. I just did what had to be done to keep everyone in work. You have to do your best.

“There’s still a bit of smoke around town. We keep turning the rubbish over and hopefully it should be going out very soon.”