Evacuation order issued in Slocan Valley after spill

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WINLAW (NEWS1130) – Officials in BC’s Central Kootenay region say about 1,500 people are currently under an evacuation order after a truck carrying 35,000 litres of jet fuel crashed into a creek.

The truck had been on its way to supply helicopters battling wildfires in the Perry Ridge area when the accident happened last night along a gravel route in the Slocan Valley.

Bill Macpherson of the Regional District of Central Kootenay says the evacuation order isn’t mandatory, but “a number of people” have still checked into emergency centres set up in three area schools.

Authorities had initially said approximately 800 people living within 300 metres of area waterways were affected by the order, but that zone was later widened to cover about 2,500 people living within 3 kilometres of area waterways due to health concerns related to fumes from the jet fuel.

That evacuation area was reduced this morning to include only those within 800 metres of area waterways.

The spill is moving downstream and the Vancouver HAZMAT team is partnerning with other agencies to contain it by using a back eddy.

Crews are testing the water downstream, which have so far indicated little odour and relatively clear samplings.

Macpherson says the driver of the tanker that crashed was sent to hospital with minor injuries, but no area residents have reported any medical concerns related to the spill.

Residents have been told not to drink or use the water.

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