11/20/2013 01:27 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Medicine Hat Landfill Fire Prompts Voluntary Evacuation As Toxic Materials Burn

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. - A fire that has been burning in a southern Alberta landfill since Monday has prompted officials to issue a voluntary evacuation order.

Dennis Mann, Cypress Country fire chief, says toxic materials burning at the Westar landfill east of Medicine Hat can pose health risks.

Mann says the voluntary evacuation covers a three-kilometre radius around the blaze.

He says only one of 25 people living in the area has chosen to leave.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Mann says the fire is not yet at a — quote — "manageable size."

"There's a lot of asphalt shingles, insulation, plastic, aluminum siding, vinyl siding — all stuff that people use when they're renovating their houses. Contractors bring it to this particular landfill. That's what's burning right now," Mann said Wednesday.

Alberta Health Services has issued a precautionary air quality advisory for homes and communities near the landfill

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