A very large burning pile of cars at Northern Metals Recycling in Becker has been on fire for more than 36 hours and "could last several more days," according to an update from Sherburne County.
The blaze erupted early Tuesday morning, sending a huge plume of smoke into the sky. It's continued to burn and a recommendation from state and county officials has led to the decision to let the fire burn itself out. The decision was reached in part because water resources in Becker and surrounding communities is being "rapidly depleted."
The fire is expected to become more intense and produce more black smoke. But the smoke is expected to "rise higher into the air and travel farther before dissipating," Sherburne County said in a release.
Allowing the fire to burn itself out will also protect firefighters' health, and with strategies in place to prevent the blaze from spreading, it's been deemed the best course of action.
"Firefighters, and plant personnel are strategically and methodically protecting a separate and bigger part of stacked vehicles with a fire break in the hopes that the entire inventory of vehicles won’t burn. That also protects buildings on the property, including a main source of power to the company," the release said.
Residents have not been asked to evacuate but they are advised to stay away from the immediate area of the fire. While there is currently no concern of water contamination, the smoke can be an issue for those in the area.
"Smoke can cause irritation or respiratory symptoms, which can be more harmful to sensitive populations such as children or those with asthma," county officials say. "Large fires such as these can produce irritating smoke and gases that may harm people’s health if they are exposed to too much smoke or exposed for long periods."
Anyone with concerns about their health should contact their doctor.