Highway 49 Tanker Fire

DISCLAIMER: Information provided is based on reports received by Emergency Management B.C. Information provided is considered to be current at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.

Incident Description

Incident Date November 16, 2019
Name Highway 49 Tanker Fire (DGIR: 192786)
Source Tanker Truck
Nearest Community Dawson Creek, B.C. 
Spilled Content Crude Oil (UN 1267)
Who is involved? Tempest Energy Services Inc., RCMP, Dawson Creek Fire Department, BC Oil & Gas Commission, B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy (ENV), B.C. Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure


Response Phase Detail

The responsible person or spiller is legally required to clean-up or manage the clean-up of a spill. In incidents where the responsible person is unknown, unable or unwilling to manage the clean up, the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy (ENV) may assume the role. The updates below reflect the Ministry’s oversight of the spillers’ actions; details describe the spill response phase, only, and not the complete lifecycle of the spill. See More Information for other related reports. 

Updates are in reverse chronological order, with the most recent at the top. Industry-specific language may be explained in the Glossary of Terms (PDF).

Most Recent Update

November 22, 2019 - 9:23 am

Sample results show a decrease in oil downstream from the incident site. The incident is now moving from the emergency phase into the recovery phase. 

The environmental consultant is working with B.C. Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure (MoTI) to remove rip-rap covered in oil while the weather remains favorable. 

River boom remains in place to catch any remaining oil that could potentially seep from the incident site into the Pouce Coupe River. 

B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy (ENV) will continue to monitor this incident and remain involved in the recovery plan. 

Unless the situation changes, this will be the final update for this incident. 

November 20, 2019 - 8:23 am

Containment boom remains in place with all black oil taken off the river and only very minimal sheen remaining. Water and soil sampling continues.

Soil impacted by crude oil on both sides of the highway has been removed. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will be working with the responsible person to coordinate the removal and replacement of the rip-wrap coated in oil underneath the Pouce Coupe bridge. 

Two Environmental Emergency Response Officers (EERO) attended the site yesterday and will continue to monitor the clean-up of this incident. 

Additional updates will be posted when new information is available.

November 18, 2019 - 9:45 am

Two Environmental Emergency Response Officers (EERO) from Fort St. John attended the incident site this weekend to oversee spill response actions. Containment boom was deployed on the Pouce Coupe River and a disc skimmer was placed inside the boomed area to collect spilled product. 

An overflight of the incident site was conducted yesterday (November 17, 2019). Some sheening was observed within the first 2 km downstream from the bridge. No sheening was observed further down. 

Water sampling continued yesterday and an excavator removed the top layer of soil on one side of the road to recover spilled product. Engineers inspected the bridge yesterday. Please check DriveBC.ca for the latest highway closure information. 

Additional updates will be posted when new information is available. 

Aerial Photo of Incident

(Aerial shot of incident site - November 17, 2019)
disc skimmer(Disc skimmer collecting product from boomed area - November 17, 2019)

November 17, 8:45 am

The tanker truck was removed from the Pouce Coupe bridge yesterday afternoon under a directive from Transport Canada. An estimated 40,000 L of crude oil was lost, however, the majority of the product was likely consumed during the truck fire. 

Absorbent boom was placed across the Pouce Coupe River to to catch product that is migrating downstream from rip-rap underneath the bridge. The environmental contractor, hired by the responsible person, took background, source and downstream water samples and installed wildlife deterrents to keep wildlife away from the incident site. 

Additional updates will be posted when new information is available. 

boom in river

(Boom placed in Pouce Coupe River - November 16, 2019)

truck removal(Tanker truck removal - November 16, 2019)​

November 16, 2019 - 1:40 pm

A b-train tanker truck carrying petroleum crude oil (UN 1267) was involved in an accident at approximately 7:00 am on Highway 49 while crossing the Pouce Coupe bridge. The accident resulted in a tanker truck fire approximately 5 km east of Dawson Creek, B.C. 

Dawson Creek Fire Department, the RCMP and an Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) attended the scene. The driver was taken to hospital. 

The responding EERO conducted a site assessment upon arrival. The truck and trailer were mostly consumed by the fire. The bridge is closed until further notice. An engineer will assess and certify the bridge is safe for operation before it is re-opened. 

Oil was observed on the bridge and there is some sheening on the Pouce Coupe river immediately below the incident site. The responsible person, Tempest Energy Services Inc., is working to put absorbent boom in the river downstream from the incident site. 

The responsible person hired an environmental contractor to conduct sampling and oversee remediation. Work is being done to clear a path to allow a picker to remove the truck from the bridge to allow for clean-up operations. A Recovery Specialist with the B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy will monitor the recovery phase of this incident. 

Additional updates will be posted when new information is available. 

tanker truck fire

(Tanker truck fire on the Pouce Coupe bridge, Highway 49 - November 16, 2019)

tanker truck fire

(Tanker truck incident, Pouce Coupe bridge, Highway 49 - November 16, 2019)


Incident Location