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Solar farm fire in Upstate New York sends possible toxic smoke billowing into surrounding community

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul issued an advisory Thursday night due to potentially toxic smoke billowing from a battery fire at a solar farm burning near the Canadian border.

CBS affiliate WWNY-TV reports that the fire broke out at about 1 p.m. Eastern time at a solar farm in the Jefferson County town of Lyme, located on Lake Ontario.

In a statement, Hochul said that the "large battery fire" had "caused significant damage and is emitting large amounts of smoke that may pose health risks."

Residents within a mile of the facility were told to shelter in place, WWNY reported. Video footage showed heavy flames and smoke rising hundreds of feet in the air.

"I urge all members of the local community to follow public health guidance to protect themselves and their families, and avoid exposure to smoke or other toxins," Hochul said.

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.

Lyme is located just east of the city of Watertown, and about 20 miles from the Canadian border. 

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