UPDATE: As of 5:10 p.m., HRM says the fire is under control. Power in the area is still shut down but will resume soon. Air quality has greatly improved. Fire teams remain at the scene, so movement in the area is still limited. Monitoring for any contaminated runoff will continue over the weekend.
An emergency alert has been issued asking those living or working near an active fire in Burnside to close their windows and doors, and to shut down air exchangers.
"Residents and business owners are asked to stay inside until air quality conditions improve, which is expected to last three to six hours," said the alert issued at around 1:20 p.m.
A special air quality statement issued earlier today for the Halifax area has now ended.
Firefighters are battling a blaze at a Burnside scrapyard Friday.
Emergency crews were called to Dawn Drive at around 11:15 a.m.
Deputy fire chief Roy Hollett says it's not yet known what sparked the fire in the pile of crushed cars.
"The pile started burning with everything from grease, gas and oil, whatever is in there, that's why you were seeing the heavy black smoke," he explained.
When firefighters arrived, the blaze was quite large. He estimates around 300 to 400 feet in perimeter.
"Crews did a great job of putting copious amounts of water on it," Hollett says, adding as of 2:45 p.m., they've managed to knock it down quite a bit.
"The smoke has really dissipated. It's a nice white smoke now."
However, he expects Halifax Fire to be on site until after dinnertime Friday.
"When you've got burning metal, especially metal like magnesium, it just requires lots and lots and lots of water," he explained.
Halifax Regional Municipality is asking the public to avoid recreational activity in the area of the fire until further notice.
"The ongoing fire in Burnside is producing a runoff with potentially-contaminated materials, which may enter local water areas, including storm water systems," it said, adding crews are working to contain it.
Halifax Regional Police say there are no reported injuries at this time.
As of 1:20 p.m., Akerley Boulevard remains closed to traffic between Mosher Drive and Windmill Road.
Power has been cut to the area and some businesses may be closing early for the day.
Halifax Water says it is experiencing unexpected high demand on the Dartmouth water system.
"As a result, there may be the potential for customers supplied through the Dartmouth system to experience temporary changes, including lower or higher water pressure or temporarily discoloured water," it said.
If your water is discoloured, it's recommended you run the cold water at one faucet until the water runs clear.