RESIDENTS living near the scene of a huge fire at a North Yorkshire tyre factory have been warned more smoke may come from the site over the next few days.

The blaze at the Newgen Recycling Centre in Sherburn-in-Elmet, which started on January 16, involved more than 15,000 tonnes of tyres, with a 51-year-old local man being arrested in connection with the investigation.

A clean-up operation at the Gascoigne Wood site is continuing and the fire is mainly being left to burn out, with a statement by Selby District Council saying its size meant any attempt to extinguish it entirely could cause pollution because of the amount of water which would be needed.

Small amounts of material are being removed and the council said this may mean some "additional smoke" over the coming days, although it will be localised. Group manager Dave Pitt from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service explained, "We've been working with the recycling company to move some of the tyres when it's safe to do so, so they can be extinguished. 

"If we didn't do this there is a danger that the fire could continue to smoulder for a very long time. This is part of our overall strategy to bring this to an end as quickly as possible; although we still expect the site to burn for another week or so."

The council said residents who smell smoke should stay inside if possible and keep windows and doors closed, and asthma sufferers should carry their inhalers.

Anybody who is worried about the effect of the smoke on their health should phone the NHS helpline on 111 or contact their GP, only calling 999 in an emergency. Motorists driving through smoke should close their vehicle's windows and turn off the air-conditioning.

Organisations including the fire service and the Environment Agency are continuing to check the site to make sure the remaining fire is contained and does not pose a danger to the area.