BRITISH COLUMBIA
07/02/2014 09:40 EDT | Updated 09/01/2014 05:59 EDT

Okanagan Truck Crash Sparks Fire, Closes Highway

OSOYOOS, B.C. - Wildfire crews in British Columbia's south Okanagan are battling a two-hectare fire that officials believe was sparked when two semi-trailers collided on a well-known highway.

RCMP Const. Kris Clark said the crash occurred on Highway 3 late Wednesday afternoon at Spotted Lake, northwest of Osoyoos.

UPDATE July 3: Highway 3 has reopened in both directions, Global News reports.

"The early indication is that one semi might have side-swiped the other while passing," said Clark. "Both trucks were engulfed in flames upon impact."

He said one of the drivers escaped unharmed, but the second driver was pulled from the vehicle and airlifted to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The crash caused a ground fire, threatening a local home, and the Ministry of Forests is battling the flames, said Clark.

Kayla Pepper, a spokeswoman with the province's Wildfire Management Branch, said the fire is about two hectares in size, and the Kamloops Fire Centre has sent two, three-person initial-attack crews plus a response officer, one helicopter, and two water tenders, which are used to haul water into the area.

Also battling the fire are air tankers from Kamloops and Penticton, she said, noting the fixed-wing aircraft drop retardant on the perimeter of fire.

"Wildfire Management Branch is using air and ground resources to stop the fire from spreading, because it is in the area of some structures and it's also near the highway," said Pepper.

The Ministry of Transportation's DriveBC website reports the highway is closed nine kilometre west of Osoyoos and there is no estimated time of reopening.

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