While fire crews from a number of jurisdictions battle a fire at a scrapyard near Nanaimo Airport on central Vancouver Island, officials are anticipating water quality concerns.
Crews responded to a fire at the Schnitzer Steel Canada site the morning of Sept. 10, in Cassidy, off the Trans-Canada Highway, with officials stating the fire is being fueled by car parts, plastics and tires. According to a Cowichan Valley Regional District press release, the fire is anticipated to spread to a neighbouring private property, with imminent evacuations of the immediate area.
“Groundwater contamination as a result of the fire is a significant concern and highly likely based on current assessments from crews on the ground,” said the press release. “Representatives from the B.C. Ministry of Environment are on scene, as are those from Vancouver Island Health Authority. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations groundwater monitoring department has been alerted, and it is anticipated that VIHA will issue a boil water order for properties in the area.
“Air quality is also a concern given the contaminated material ablaze, and the public is advised to avoid the area if at all possible.”
The CVRD has activated its emergency operations centre at Level 1, said the press release, and further updates will be posted at www.cvrd.bc.ca and the Cowichan Valley Regional District Facebook page.