A tanker truck carrying 35,000 litres of jet fuel in the Slocan Valley has overturned on Highway 6, spilling its load into Lemon Creek.
The truck was destined for fire crews working a nearby wildfire, said Bill Macpherson, public information officer for the Central Regional District of Kootenay.
But now “the truck is in the creek,” he said, and the fuel has made its way downstream into the Slocan River.
The RCMP first received a call around 5 p.m. Friday.
A state of emergency has been declared in the area and that evacuations were ordered around 9 p.m. Local fire departments are also on scene.
The evacuation area is “Fairly broad but strictly precautionary,” Macpherson said. It was ordered by the regional medical officer of health.
It runs from the junction of Highway 3 and Highway 6 to three kilometres north of Lemon Creek, including 300 metres on either side of all waterways like creeks and the Slocan River.
Those waterways are often primary water sources for local residents, Macpherson said.
The regional district is coordinating with provincial agencies and has requested emergency spill containment supports and hazardous material gear.
“The RCMP, who were first on the scene, were unable to get too close due to the fumes,” Macpherson said.
Highway 6 remains open to traffic.
The truck was bringing jet fuel to helicopters working the Perry Ridge fire, said Jordan Turner of the Southeast Fire Centre in Castlegar. He was unable to confirm the extent of the spill but noted that residents downstream were being informed of the situation.