Cypress County landfill fire cost nears $2M

The cost of putting out a major fire at a landfill site near Medicine Hat has ended up costing a lot of money.

County had to hire specialized company to put out fire that burned for days

A fire at a private landfill in rural Cypress County near Medicine Hat could end up costing close to $2 million, county officials say. (Charles Lefebvre/Medicine Hat News)

The cost of putting out a major fire at a landfill site near Medicine Hat has ended up costing a lot of money.

It took days to get the fire under control after it started in Cypress County in November and it took a month to put it out completely.

The county ended up hiring a specialized company with experience extinguishing difficult landfill fires — and the total bill for the fire could hit $2 million.

"We just said at the start, 'We know it's going to be at least $1 million,'" said Kevin Miner, the county's municipal manager.

"We just kind of went with that because, of course, our top priority is putting the fire out and getting the people back into their homes as quickly as possible while maintaining their safety."

Residents were forced out of their homes over air quality concerns because the burning landfill contained a lot of construction material.

Alberta Environment is still investigating the fire.

A spokesperson says their findings could be used to determine whether any regulation changes are needed.