June 13, 2013 - 12:37 PM
Transportation ministry to examine runaway lane once wreckage is removed
PENTICTON — Anarchist Mountain has a 50-hectare fire cooking its slopes but the blaze is considered under control as of Thursday.
The wildfire is 100 per cent contained, fire information officer Melissa Welsh said. The area did receive rain on Wednesday night and still has 37 firefighters working the site on Thursday. Crews are suppressing fires at the blaze's outer edges. Only stumps and logs are left burning inside the perimeter. Two helicopters are ferrying equipment to ground crews.
Welsh added nearby structures are not in immediate danger.
The fire got its spark on Wednesday thanks to a crashed big rig. A semi-trailer's brakes overheated as it traveled down a steep section of Highway 3 near Osoyoos. The driver veered onto a runaway lane at the base of Anarchist Mountain but the truck overturned and burst into flames.
Osoyoos RCMP Sgt. Kevin Shur saw the crash happen in front of him. The detachment commander was heading west on the steep Anarchist Mountain portion of Highway 3. He noticed the semi-truck ahead was having trouble. He called for support.
"I could smell the brakes and saw them heat up," Shur said.
The driver exited the truck before it caught fire, escaping without injury. The vehicle was hauling a load of lumber at the time.
RCMP media spokesperson Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the driver was lucky to escape. Shur was too far away for him to reach the driver in time.
The Ministry of Transportation was asked if the runaway lane was properly maintained.
Ministry spokesperson Cindy Cousins said a maintenance contractor graded the runaway lane this spring. The ministry is not aware of any concerns with maintenance for this lane.
"We will re-inspect the runaway lane once the vehicle wreckage has been removed," Cousins said. "The RCMP is investigating the crash and we’ll wait for the results of that investigation."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013