Residents are being urged to stay indoors as emergency services deal with a large-scale fire at a recycling plant near Gascoigne Wood Mine at Sherburn in Elmet.
A large number of tyres are on fire at the scene of the blaze which is being tackled by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The fire is giving off a thick plume of smoke which is heading from Sherburn in Elmet across the North Yorkshire moors towards the east coast.
At the moment the plume is high up in the sky, therefore the risk of harm to the public is low.
Public health officials are urging people to stay inside and stay away from the smoke.
They are also advising anyone with existing respiratory problems such as asthma to keep taking their medication and avoid exposure to the smoke.
There have been reports of deposits from the ash being found on cars in the area but Public Health England have confirmed that the material can be cleaned up safely. They have also advised anyone with existing health problems to contact their GP if their condition worsens after coming into contact with the smoke.
A spokesperson for Public Health England said: Smoke consists of a mixture of gases, liquid droplets and solid particles representing the decomposition and combustion products from fires.
Any smoke can be an irritant and as such, if people need to be outdoors, they are advised to avoid or limit the time spent in areas affected by any smoke or ash. Chemicals in the smoke can worsen existing respiratory problems like asthma. People with asthma or respiratory conditions should carry their inhalers and keep any medication to hand and phone your GP or NHS 111 for advice if your health condition worsens.
Near to the fire, there is a risk of material being deposited, such as a light coating visible on cars or garden furniture – and we recommend that this can be washed away safely.
North Yorkshire County Council are advising parents that schools are operating normally tomorrow (Friday 17 January 2014) unless they hear differently.
Schools are expected to follow public health precautions and keep pupils and staff away from the smoke but they will open as usual.
The Fire and Rescue service and North Yorkshire Police will remain at the scene of the fire overnight to ensure it is kept under control and minimise the risk to the public.