A fire in a scrap metal pile at the Mission Flats landfill is proving difficult to douse, though the blaze has been contained to that pile.
More worrisome is the fact the thick, black smoke billowing from the pile and spreading eastward has been described as toxic by Kamloops Fire Rescue, with residents downwind of the smoke advised to stay inside.
“Slow progress is being made on the fire,” Kamloops Fire Rescue said on its Twitter account at 11:25 a.m. “This type of fire requires a high volume of water to fight with. “Unfortunately, water supplies are limited, there are no hydrants close to the fire, so all water must be shuttled in with our water tender trucks.”
As of 10:45 a.m., fire crews were bringing water to the fire from hydrants near the Domtar pulp mill, just east of the landfill.
The initial response to the blaze included nine members of Kamloops Fire Rescue, along with three apparatus.
The blaze is stubborn, with plenty of items to fuel it, leading to continued clouds of thick, black smoke to be emitted into the air. There are many items burning, including old appliances.
The smoke was first seen rising above the landfill on the south side of the Thompson River, across from Kamloops Airport, at about 8:30 a.m.
Jen Fretz, the City of Kamloops’ operations director, told KTW the blaze started in a metal scrap pile at the dump, noting the landfill is closed to the public until fire crews are finished dousing the flames.
There have been no injuries reported and Fretz said the cause of the fire is not yet known.
“Kamloops Fire Rescue will look at that once they are finished dealing with the fire,” she said.
In the meantime, residents who intended to use the landfill on Saturday are advised to go to the landfill in Barnhartvale and to bring cash. That landfill is at 970 Eliza Rd. and is open until 4:30 p.m.
The fire has apparently not impacted air quality generally, as the B.C. Air Quality Index has Kamloops’ data at 3 as of noon on Saturday, which is in the low health risk range. The moderate health risk range is between 4 and 6, with high health risk readings between 7 and 10. The index measures particulate matter in the air.
However, many residents have reported on social media that they are being hit with pungent odours, some describing “burning plastic” and others noting it smells like wires burning.