British Columbia

'Keep your windows closed': Fire in South Vancouver industrial area prompts warning about air quality

Officials are warning residents about air quality after a three-alarm fire broke out in an industrial area of South Vancouver on Saturday.

Fire officials say 3-alarm fire was in a pile of wood debris on Saturday morning, air quality advisory issued

An aerial shot shows a plume of smoke rising from a landfill, surrounded by industrial buildings. Large fire engine attachments are seen attempting to douse the fire.
A large fire in a pile of wood recycling led to a 3-alarm response from firefighters in Vancouver on Saturday, including a firefighting boat. (Submitted by Ken Carrusca)

Officials are warning residents about air quality after a three-alarm fire broke out in an industrial area of South Vancouver on Saturday.

Officials say the fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. at a wood recycling facility near Ontario Street and Marine Drive.

The blaze was in a pile of wood debris at an industrial estate, according to acting Assistant Fire Chief Andy Greenwood. A firefighting boat had to be deployed on the Fraser River early morning.

"We'll be here all day," said Greenwood Saturday morning. "We're doing our best to get this under control. But in the meantime ... close [your] windows if you can."

 

On Saturday afternoon, Metro Vancouver issued an air quality advisory for the region and the Fraser Valley due to smoke from the fire, as well as from wildfires in the southern Interior.

"Considerable smoke ... is trapped near the surface by an inversion," said a spokesperson from the regional district.

"Smoke from the fire is impacting multiple municipalities including Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, New Westminster, Surrey, and Coquitlam."

 

Investigators are now on scene trying to determine the cause of the fire in the woodpile, according to Greenwood. No injuries or threats to nearby businesses were reported.

"Any smoke is dangerous especially to those with respiratory issues," a tweet from Fire Chief Karen Fry read.

"Keep your windows closed, avoid being outside or exercising in the smoke."

The Metro Vancouver spokesperson said smoke is more likely to affect those with chronic illnesses, pregnant people and infants, and older people. They said additional smoke is also likely to arrive on Sunday from wildfires across the U.S. border.

A number of firefighters pour water on a large blaze concentrated on some wood debris.
The fire broke out in an industrial area near Ontario Street and S.E. Marine Drive on Saturday morning. (Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services)

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