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Evacuation order reduced while HAZMAT crews clean up tanker spill

Regional District of Central Kootenay Emergency Operations Centre spokesman Bill Macpherson has confirmed the evacuation order for the geographic area surrounding the truck tanker spill in Lemon Creek Friday has been reduced.

“The north and south evacuation order boundaries remain unchanged,” Macpherson said in a statement released this morning to the media.

“Residents living further than 800 metres from water courses will not be under an order; if they have gone to a reception centre they can return when able to do so.”

“For now, those evacuated are asked to remain in place until Highway 6 is reopened.”

The evacuation order was lifted at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Macpherson said all 35,000 litres of jet fuel bound for helicopters battling an isolated wildfire in the mountains 4.5 kilometres from Winlaw was released into Lemon Creek.

The fire had grown to 60 hectares as of Saturday.

Crews employed by the company are determining expedient removal options for the tanker out of Lemon Creek.

A Vancouver HAZMAT team, which arrived early Saturday morning, is currently working with other agencies and crews at containing the spill, which is moving downstream from Lemon Creek into Slocan River and on into Kootenay River.

“A two to three kilometre plume 30 to 50 metres wide is above the Brilliant Dam and crews are using a back eddy to contain it,” Macpherson said.

“Further testing downstream is ongoing, although sampling and visual evidence of air and water at several upstream junctions with the Slocan River indicate little odour and relatively clear sampling,” Macpherson added.

“More sampling of air and water at multiple spots is ongoing.”

Highway 6 from the South Slocan junction with Highway 3A to New Denver remains closed to traffic.

Motorists traveling from Nelson or Castlegar to points north of New Denver are asked to detour through Kaslo on Highway 31.

The RDCK said further testing downstream of the crash site located on the Lemon Creek Forestry Servicei Road s ongoing, although sampling and visual evidence of air and water at several upstream junctions with the Slocan River indicate little odour and relatively clear sampling.

More sampling of air and water at multiple spots is ongoing.

“A ‘do not use’ water order remains in place for water users within the evacuation order area and within three kilometres of water courses,” Macpherson said.

Residents can contact the Emergency Operations Centre for specifics on evacuation procedures at 1-800-268-7325.

Hazmat teams on site at Lemon Creek accident scene

The Regional District of Central Kootenay Emergency Operations Centre spokesman Bill Macpherson said a hazmat team from Vancouver is containing the scene of a truck tanker accident in Lemon Creek.

The Vancouver-based hazmat team arrived on scene around 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

“The hazmat team is performing water tests and deploying containment equipment at the scene of the accident,” Macpherson told The Nelson Daily this morning.

Macpherson is expecting to be briefed of the current situation at the accident site in a conference call this morning.

Friday, at around 5:15 p.m. a tanker truck carrying 35,000 litres of jet fuel on the Lemon Creek Forestry Service crashed into the creek.

The driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to hospital via BC Ambulance.

More than 3000 residents were placed under a EOC evacuations order.

Emergency personal was going door to door to homes in the Slocan Valley to advise residents of the evacuation order.

“It’s precautionary with the fumes from the jet fuel,” Macpherson explained. “We’re concerned with people that could be affected by the fumes if they’re sleeping in a confined space.”

The road between the Highway 3A/6 junction and New Denver has been closed to traffic.

As many as 3000 residents under EOC evacuation order

The Regional District of Central Kootenay, in conjunction with the provincial medical officers, expanded an evacuation order for people living in the Lemon Creek area to three kilometers following a tanker truck accident Friday on a forestry road adjacent the water tributary.

The accident happened around 5:15 p.m. Friday on the Lemon Creek Forestry Service Road when the tanker truck, carrying 35,000 litres of jet fuel, crashed into the creek.

RDCK Emergency Operations Centre spokesman Bill Macpherson said the evacuation zone was expanded from the original 300 meters “from Lemon Creek and its tributaries, due to potential neurological damage from fumes.”

Staffers working for The Nelson Daily complained of the taste of jet fuel after taking pictures where the Lemon Creek Forest Service Road intersects Highway 6.

"You could smell the fumes when we were taking pictures of the jet fuel in the Slocan River near the Perry Siding Bridge," the staffer said.

Macpherson said the EOC has set up places for the evacuating residents to stay during the order. The order is mandatory but people over the age of 16 can refuse to leave if they so choose.

“Emergency social services have set up reception centres at, WE Graham (School) in Slocan (and both) L.V. Rogers (High School) Mary Hall, Selkirk College campus in Nelson,” Macpherson said. “As many as 3,000 households under evacuation order.”

Lemon Creek is 60 kilometers north of Nelson in the Slocan Valley.

The tanker truck was en route to deliver jet fuel to helicopters battling a 35-hectare blaze in the Perry Ridge area.

The isolated fire, discovered Wednesday, is burning approximately 4.5 kilometres west of Winlaw.

The Ministry of Forests says 65 firefighters and five helicopters have been battling the blaze, which flared up Friday.

Drive BC is reporting Highway 6 between New Denver and the Highway 6/3A junction at South Slocan has been closed to traffic due to the spill.

Detour is available through Highway 3A to Kaslo. The road is expected to be opened between noon and 5 p.m. Saturday.