The Ashcroft RCMP has reported four BC Wildfire Service sub-contractors, who were assisting with firefighting efforts near Vanderhoof, have died in a motor vehicle accident between Cache Creek and Savona.
Emergency crews responded to the two-vehicle collision at around 2:00 a.m. yesterday (Tuesday), approximately one kilometre west of Juniper Beach Provincial Park.
When crews arrived, one of the vehicles involved, a semi-tractor trailer, had caught on fire.
Mounties say the driver was able to escape before the vehicle was engulfed.
The four occupants of the second vehicle, a Ford F-350 pickup truck, succumbed to their injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene.
According to police, an initial investigation has determined the pick-up truck failed to navigate a bend in the road to the right, crossing the centre line and colliding with the semi-truck head-on.
In a joint statement issued by Premier David Eby and Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston, they confirmed the four wildfire firefighters were driving home after assisting with response efforts near Vanderhoof.
“Our hearts are broken by news of the death of four wildfire fighters who were travelling home after a tour of duty and were in a motor vehicle accident near Cache Creek. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues grieving the loss of these brave individuals.”
The statement also reads, “This is devastating news in what has been an immensely difficult wildfire season. We stand with wildfire fighters and all BC Wildfire Service personnel as they mourn the death of colleagues and co-workers yet again.”
“This year has been particularly challenging for the BC Wildfire Service, with several of its members facing injuries or losing their lives. Our thoughts are with the friends and family of those who help keep our Province safe,” said Cpl. James Grandy, spokesperson for the BC RCMP Southeast District.