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Hwy 70 in Feather River Canyon now open after big rig accident

Feather Publishing

Multiple agencies responded to a big rig accident and wildland fire in the Feather River Canyon late Wednesday afternoon.

At approximately 5 p.m. Jose Morales, 28, was driving a 2008 Peterbilt truck westbound on Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon. According to the California Highway Patrol report, Morales said that a sedan passed him over double yellow lines west of the Grizzly Dome tunnel. Morales allowed the truck, which was towing a flatbed trailer loaded with lumber, to drift onto the shoulder to make room for the sedan, but in the process, he lost control.

The truck and trailer overturned and blocked the roadway, and sparks from the accident ignited a fire on the embankment. Highway 70 was closed while crews worked to extinguish the fire — which was quickly contained — and clear the lumber, truck, trailer and debris from the road. Morales sustained abrasions to his head and back and reported back pain. He was flown to Enloe Medical Center in Chico.

A lumber carrying big rig lays on its side blocking both lanes of traffic on Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon late Wednesday afternoon.  Photo by Mike Orloff

The highway was reopened at about 8 p.m., when Caltrans and CHP personnel directed traffic through the westbound lane.

A  few miles to the west, near Pulga, Cal Fire and U.S. Forest Service fire crews continue to battle  a wildland fire.  Both incidents were reported within minutes of each other.

The Chico Enterprise Record reported that crews made good progress on the fire before dark but decided to pull back for the night because of safety concerns. The area burned during the 2008 lightning fire siege, and the number of fire-killed snags in the area make night firefighting dangerous.

The Dixie Fire was being fought by engines, helicopters and hand crews, with assistance from  an air attack aircraft. Downed power lines in the area complicated the effort.

At last report the blaze was holding at about seven acres

Cal Fire-Butte County spokeswoman Mary Ann Aldrich said the fire is along the "120 U Line" logging road, on the north face of Flea Mountain.








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