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Fire at Schnitzer Steel expected to burn for several days; air and water quality assessments ongoing 

The fire that began in an industrial yard Thursday morning just south of the Nanaimo Airport is now under control, but fire suppression efforts are anticipated to last several days given the nature of fueling materials. 

Dozens of firefighters from numerous departments in the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo regions remained on scene overnight and are continuing suppression efforts today, approximately half of the resources deployed to the site at the height of the blaze yesterday afternoon. The threat of the fire exposure to adjacent properties and structures has significantly lessened, however crews continue to monitor wind speed and direction. 

Contracted environmental consultants continue to conduct air quality monitoring on site and in the vicinity of the fire. Groundwater contamination remains a concern, and ground water travel time and impact assessments are ongoing. Water samples from various sites in the surrounding area are being sent for testing, and those results will be shared with impacted residents and other stakeholders as they become available by the respective provincial agencies. 

Drinking water quality inquiries should be forwarded to the Drinking Water Officer through your health authority; Island Health, Health Protection and Environmental Services at 250.755.6215. 

Further updates will be posted to the CVRD website at as they become available, and on the CVRD Facebook page at

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