State officials are advising people in a six-to-eight-county area in central Minnesota to stay clear of any possible smoke from a three-day-old fire at Northern Metal Recycling in Becker — about midway between Saint Cloud and the Twin Cities.

Minnesota Health Department spokesman Jim Kelly says, “There are materials certainly that were burning that could be considered problematic or hazardous, and we’ve advised people to simply stay away from contact with the smoke. Avoid the area, especially if there’s existing lung disease such as asthma or COPD or other things.”

Kelly says it’s difficult to predict which direction the smoke might go. Officials are also advising residents to avoid contact with any ash fallout from the fire. Crews have contained the blaze and are allowing it to burn itself out.