Windsor officials said residents called authorities Wednesday to report a stench variously described as burning garbage, burning leaves and bacon, the (White River Junction, Vt.) Valley News reported Friday.
Authorities tracked the smell to flames that broke out Wednesday in a 120-cubic-yard pile of goat manure at Oak Knoll Dairy, located just south of town.
George Redick, who owns and manages the farm and its 800 goats with his wife, Karen Lindbo, said the manure was meant to be spread around the farm earlier in the year to serve as fertilizer, but rain and other factors delayed the spreading.
"With the moisture in the ignitable material, it can combust," Redick said. "I used to think (spontaneous combustion) was make-believe, but now I'm a believer."
Officials alerted the public via the "Windsor, Birthplace of Vermont" Facebook page.
"We have been getting a lot of calls about the odor permeating our community that smells like the town is on fire," the post read. "Here is the answer: Very early this morning a pile of goat manure spontaneously combusted. The fire department is on the scene and taking care of it. There is no danger to life or property."