Sherburn-in-Elmet tyre blaze could 'go on for days'

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Tyre fire at Sherburn in ElmetImage source, North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue
Image caption,
Firefighters are tackling a blaze involving 15,000 tonnes of tyres in Sherburn-in-Elmet

A major fire involving 15,000 tonnes of tyres at a recycling plant in North Yorkshire will "go on for days", the county's fire chief has said.

Nigel Hutchinson said the cause of the blaze at Newgen Recycling in Sherburn-in-Elmet was not yet known.

About 70 firefighters from across Yorkshire have been at the Lennerton Lane plant since 08:40 GMT.

Residents and school pupils were told to stay indoors as a plume of fumes billowed over nearby villages.

Mr Hutchinson said: "It is a significant fire and one that is difficult to tackle. It's the sort of incident that will go on for days.

Media caption,
Smoke billowed across nearby villages and grounded flights at a neighbouring airfield

"We are anticipating a large part of the stack, if not the whole stack, being involved."

An eyewitness who works at the airfield in Sherburn-in-Elmet told BBC Radio York that he could see flames the height of the hangars at the airfield - at least 20-30ft (7-10m) high.

"It's absolutely colossal. It's like a tornado when you look at it close up, with the heat swirling and all the rest. It's absolutely amazing," he said.

Image source, Chris Lewis
Image caption,
The plumes can be seen for miles by neighbouring villages

Twelve schools and a children's centre have been advised to keep staff and pupils inside, according to North Yorkshire County Council.

A spokeswoman said: "There will be further advice to schools as the day goes on. More schools and children's centres may be contacted depending on the wind direction."

Environment Agency officers are at the scene to help minimise the impact on the air and water.

Image source, James Fletcher
Image caption,
Billowing smoke has grounded flights at a nearby airfield

Some flights at a nearby airfield have been grounded because of the smoke.

Chris Stringer, chief flight instructor at Sherburn Aero Club, said it has cut off the eastern approach to the airfield.

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