The City of Iqaluit is asking residents to conserve water and says garbage pickup will be reduced to once a week due to an ongoing fire at the city's dump.

Water delivery will continue, but will be delayed, and no garbage will be dropped off at the landfill. They are also asking residents and drivers to stay away from the dump.

Iqaluit city council held an emergency meeting Tuesday night to discuss the fire that flared up at the dump in the early afternoon of May 20.

Iqaluit dump fire

A backhoe tackles the smoking Iqaluit landfill in this file photo. City council elected last night to let the latest fire keep burning. (Grant Linton/CBC)

The fire has been burning deep within the landfill for months. Last night, council decided to let it keep burning.

Iqaluit’s fire chief, Luc Grandmaison, weighed in with an environmental reason not to keep fighting the fire.  

"The more water we put on this, the more runoff there is. I'm not an environmentalist, but I sure know all these products have to go somewhere and it goes in the bay. The less water I use, it's better for the environment."

Grandmaison told council that the smoke was showing in the same area as a fire earlier this year near the garage bay.

When firefighters arrived at the fire early yesterday afternoon, they thought it was much closer to the surface. 

Grandmaison said they later found it to be like "a volcano underneath that pile."

"At one point we had to stop delivering potable water to the homes to get two tankers in," he said, explaining that the situation was compounded by the fact that two water trucks are out of service.

"At one point Public Works basically told us that we must provide water to the citizens as a priority and I believe that is a priority."

Workers will keep digging a trench to help stop the fire from spreading.