Landfill fire under control near Medicine Hat

A fire at a landfill nine kilometres east of Medicine Hat is now under control, the local fire chief says.

Blazing construction material in a deep hole east of city difficult to extinguish

A fire at a private landfill in rural Cypress County near Medicine Hat has been brought under control, an official says. (Charles Lefebvre/Medicine Hat News)

A fire at a commercial landfill nine kilometres east of Medicine Hat is now under control, the local fire chief says.

The blaze has been burning since Monday night in a 150-metre wide, 30-metre deep hole filled with construction materials such as insulation and shingles.

Firefighters from three departments struggled against strong winds to fight the fire, trucking in water to the rural Cypress County site.

Dennis Mann, emergency services chief for Cypress County, told CBC News on Wednesday morning that the fire had finally been brought under control as crews continue to spray more than 45,000 litres of water per hour on it.

But its depth and the frigid temperatures are still a big challenge, he said.

“Because we are primarily a volunteer service we’ve had to solicit several volunteer fire departments to swap out after eight or 10 hours to give the guys not only a needed break but to get them warm," he said.

It could still take weeks to fully extinguish the fire, Mann said.

Plumes of black smoke from the blaze forced the temporary closures of Range Road 45 and Township Road 130 west of Highway 41 and Alberta Environment officials have arrived in the area to monitor air quality.

RCMP gave 24 residents within a three-kilometre radius a voluntary evacuation notice, but few people actually left, Mann said.

Officials from the office of the fire commissioner in Calgary are heading down to help determine what caused the fire.

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