Residents in Kings County, Nova Scotia are advised to stay inside if they have breathing difficulties.
Crews are fighting a fire at a Nova Scotia garbage site that contains a massive pile of construction debris several stories high, prompting Environment Canada to issue an alert Friday morning, saying the fire at a dump site is expected to “burn throughout the weekend and possibly early next week.”
The the direction of the wind over the next few days is expected to carry smoke over surrounding communities, the national forecaster said.
“Moderate easterly winds are expected Friday morning as a warm front approaches the region,” reads the alert.
Winds are likely to shift to the southwest Friday afternoon and then northerly overnight and into Saturday morning.
Here’s one of the fire trucks at the debris pile #NSpoli #kingscountyfire pic.twitter长沙桑拿/0eW8vY0Nxb
— Marieke Walsh (@MariekeWalsh) March 25, 2016
Increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches and shortness of breath are all possible symptoms from the smoke, Environment Canada said. Children, seniors, and people with cardiovascular issues and conditions like asthma are most at risk.
Inspectors from the provincial environment department are at the scene monitoring the fire, Environment Minister Margaret Miller said Thursday.
The inspectors are responsible for making sure “there is no more damage to the environment,” and assessing whether the “site owners are operating within their approvals.”
At this point, Miller said it’s not clear if the owners were.
Fire is at core of large garbage pile
Ryan MacEachern, chief of the Kentville Volunteer Fire Department, said they are hoping to bring in excavators to knock down the towering mound of garbage and then cover it with sand.
He said the fire is at the core of the pile, which measures up to 60 metres high and wide, so firefighters are trying to peel away the layers and get to the heart of the blaze.
Miller said she’s not aware of any laws or regulations preventing the company from keeping such a large pile of debris.
The garbage contains plastic debris, which is fouling the air, and residents near the North River Road site have been told to keep their windows closed.
Crews are also trying to contain water being used to fight the fire to prevent leaching of toxins into the soil and any nearby waterways.
MacEachern said the blaze started Tuesday and has involved more than 150 firefighters, one of whom suffered a serious knee injury when he fell near the debris pile.
On March 24, the department of environment issued an emergency order for the facility to cease operations so no new materials are received by the waste transfer site and processing facility.
“We are still gathering information in order to determine if any additional violations may have occurred,” said department spokesperson Heather Fairbairn.
There are 25 approved C&D disposal operations in Nova Scotia.
With files from .