Five days after a local state of emergency was declared in Hay River, a fire at the landfill is causing poor air quality downwind of the blaze.

With south- to southwesterly winds expected over the weekend, residents may notice smoke in the town. A special air quality statement has been issued by Environment Canada, warning of poor air quality and possibly reduced visibility downwind from the fire.

“Children, seniors and those with pre-existing health conditions such as cardiovascular or lung disease, and asthma, are most at risk,” Environment Canada says. “Those who are most vulnerable should reduce their time outside, and keep windows and doors closed.”

Firefighters are monitoring risks at the landfill site, including a collection of tires, and are blanketing the area with snow. The town also has air monitoring systems operating near the fire and in town.

Yellowknife crews will begin fighting the fire Friday, to give local firefighters working since March 3rd a reprieve.