North winds are carrying toxic air from a fire near Becker are carrying toxic ash and fumes. It’s enough to get the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency involved.
The fire is on property owned by the much maligned Northern Metal Recycling company, which takes “junked” cars and turns them into cash – selling the metal and parts and then leaving the rest to, well, rot.
The fire involves literally dozens of junked cars – so it’s feeding on oil, gas and tires left in the old vehicles.
The company was essentially kicked out of downtown Minneapolis last year after neighbors – both residential and businesses- in North Minneapolis complained of the smell and pollution. It transferred much of its supplies to Becker in the fall of 2019.
The fire plume can be seen as far away as Clearwater or Big Lake, and smoke has been drifting over Becker, Monticello and points southeast, including St. Michael, Albertville and Otsego. The MPCA is testing air quality in the area, but Becker schools have already adjusted air handling systems to keep children safe on campus.
Authorities have said, to this point, there is no danger to the public.
The smell of the blaze has been noticed as far away as the eastern Twin Cities suburbs, including Eagan, officials said.
Here’s the KMSP report on the fire.