for a variety of reasons. Such temperatures produce finished compost more quickly, and they are high enough to kill weed seeds and disease spores.
A compost heap will always be hotter in the centre and, as the bacteria there begin to run out of food and air, turning the heap adds more air and also mixes in the less-composted, outer parts of the heap, setting off the whole process again. A large, frequently turned heap can stay at a high temperature for a surprisingly long time.
Don't worry, by the way, that this heat is bad for other compost heap inhabitants. Mesophilic bacteria survive as resistant spores, and mobile animals (beetles, centipedes, worms, and so on) simply move to the outer parts of the heap until things start to cool down.
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