In a motion passed Wednesday, Iqaluit city council reversed its previous decision to accept the fire chief’s advice and let the dump fire burn, but it's still not clear how the fire will be extinguished.
The motion, moved by Councillor Kenny Bell and seconded by Coun. Terry Dobbin, reads "that the Fire Chief, at his discretion, extinguish the fire as he sees fit, with the assistance of the Government of Nunavut to be done as soon as possible."
It passed with three councillors in favour and two against.
At an emergency meeting on May 20, Fire Chief Luc Grandmaison told council putting the fire out using water would send toxic runoff into Frobisher Bay and put firefighters in danger.
Now councillors say residents want more to be done.
Grandmaison says there still isn’t enough water to extinguish the fire, and using water could make things worse.
“The experts are now saying as soon as you start intervening in the burning process, we will create more smoke, the ashes from this fire will rise, and all the quality of air that's now stable... we can affect that thermal balance,” said Grandmaison.
Wednesday's motion means Grandmaison will now explore other ways to end the fire.
So far, he has not presented a viable option.
Smoke from the smouldering garbage has blown into town several times since the fire flared up three weeks ago.
Health advisories have been called and schools have been closed.