A fire is burning on a barge loaded with crushed vehicles docked in Surrey, B.C., spewing dense smoke into the air that can be seen across much of Metro Vancouver.

The fire broke out Friday morning on the 76-metre barge as it was moored in the Fraser River. What sparked the fire remains unclear.

As the crushed vehicles on the barge burn, smoke from their burning tires, upholstery, oil, and other materials has risen into a tall plume of black smoke.

Surrey Fire Service Deputy Chief John Lehmann said the blaze started near the middle of the 76-metre vessel, which poses a challenge for fire crews.

"Three sides of it are surrounded by the water," Lehmann told CTV Vancouver. "Given that our crews could only access it from the ramp, we were only able to get water onto the front portion of the barge."

Fire crews eventually called in a fire boat from Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services to help control the flames near the barge’s bow.

Officials say the blaze has worked its way deep into the load of crushed vehicle, which means the fire is likely to burn for much of the day.

“It is a very challenging fire and this will be a long duration event,” Vancouver Fire Chief Darrell Reid‏ tweeted.

The Metro Vancouver Twitter account advises anyone affected by the smoke to stay indoors, close all windows and follow the directions of a health-care provider.