The fire is out in Minto, but air quality and water advisories remain in effect

A fire at a tire recycling facility in Minto, N.B., was extinguished Friday night, one week after flames began sending heavy clouds of black smoke into the air. 

Geoffrey Downey, the spokesperson for the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, said the last bucket of sand was dumped on the fire Friday around 10 p.m.

About two hectares of land where scrap tires used to lay is now covered in sand.

The Tire Recycling Atlantic Canada Corporation plant caught fire on Dec. 20. Since then, firefighters have been throwing sand on the flames to bury the fire.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Officials don't know how many tires burned. The company processes about one million tires each year.

Underground tires still hot

Thermal imaging from EMO shows the fire is still smouldering underground.

"We're sure there's still a lot of heat down there," Downey said. "The fire may be out, but the tires are still hot." 

Submitted by Geoffrey Downey

There's no way of telling how much is still burning underground, Downey said. 

Even though the flames are extinguished, air quality and water advisories remain in place for Minto and surrounding areas.

"They'll remain in effect until further testing is completed to show there's reason to lift them," Downey said.

The water advisory is in place for users of the Minto industrial park water system, W.G. Bishop Nursing Home and Queens North Community Health Centre.

Those affected by the advisory should not drink the water until testing shows it's safe.

Now that the fire is covered in sand, the Department of Environment can conduct more air quality and soil tests. 

"They started to do some soil, water and air sampling before it was out, but now with the site in a safer condition, they can essentially get to more spots to do their testing," Downey said.

An environmental consultant has been on scene doing short-term assessments of water, soil and air quality.