A fire at a Melbourne recycling plant is forcing Dallas residents to evacuate their homes as toxic smoke blankets the northern suburb. 

The SKM Recycling factory in Coolaroo is the source of the thick smoke, with the blaze reportedly being so intense as to stop firefighters from getting near it. They’re saying it’s likely to burn for several days, which is frankly horrifying. 

Residents from about 115 homes are being woken up and told to evacuate by masked police. The Melbourne Fire Brigade is calling the air quality “hazardous“, with firefighters saying earlier that the smoke is toxic and harmful to people’s long-term health. 

Incident controller Mark Swiney told The Age:

“The fumes contain particulates, it’s not a chemical. They are not an immediate danger to health, they are more of an immediate long-term risk.”

People living in Dallas and surrounding suburbs are being told to stay indoors, shut the windows and doors, turn off heating and cooling systems, and “Watch and Act”.

The fire at the recycling plant is the third it has suffered this year, and has burned since just before 9am today. 

Source: The Age.

Image: Twitter / @MelissaBrownABC.