Deputy Mayor Robert Bouchard says a fire at the Hay River landfill burning for over three weeks is almost completely out.
“It’s been an ordeal,” he says about the round-the-clock work by excavator crews and firefighters to dig deep into the landfill, pull out burning trash and carefully extinguish it. The Hay River Fire Department is now putting out spot fires and smoke is no longer affecting the community.
A state of emergency declared March 10th has ended and air quality warnings are no longer in effect. Bouchard says declaring an emergency allowed the town to use resources such as highways and water trucks, and for government workers to take special leave to fight the fire.
Water and air quality monitoring is ongoing at the landfill site, however Bouchard says he hasn’t seen anything of concern from the monitoring efforts.
The costs of the prolonged effort fighting the landfill fire for the Town of Hay River have not yet been calculated. Bouchard says plans for relocating the landfill will likely come up around the council table as a result of the fire.
“There have been a few studies done on it – one was further out of town, towards our golf course. And then there is talk of a regional landfill, out towards the Pine Point junction or the Fort Smith junction,” Bouchard says of options discussed by the town. “I’m sure this fire will prompt some of that discussion to come back up.”