A “battery fire” at a rural New York solar farm has triggered warnings from authorities for local residents to avoid the toxic smoke plumes billowing from the site. Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul issued a warning Thursday night for locals to stay away from the site near Lake Ontario.
The blaze began around 1 pm at a solar farm in Jefferson County, outside the village of Chaumont, according to WWNY-TV.
The village is about 78 miles north of Syracuse and near the Canadian border.
Photos and videos aired by the local news station show smoke shooting from a solar panel array and coursing over trees.
In a statement, Hochul described the incident as “a large battery fire” and said she was sending state fire and environmental officials to the site.
The Democrat governor said the fire had caused significant damage and was emitting “large amounts of smoke that may pose health risks.”
She urged residents to heed public health officials and avoid exposure to any smoke or other toxins.
Emergency crews remained on the scene around 9 p.m.
A message seeking more information was sent to the Jefferson County fire director.
Fire officials appear to have the blaze under control.
However, the warning of “health risks” is still in place as of Friday morning.
Several state agencies had been deployed to the area to assist local and county officials, Hochul added.
There was no word on what may have sparked the fire.
There are more than 5,000 solar farms across the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
In 2022, they produced 3.4% of the nation’s electricity, the agency said.