Propane truck crashes and burns in Northern California, area evacuated within one mile

Firefighters backed off, suppressed the fire that spread into dry rice field

Colusa Incident propane truck fire
Colusa Incident. CAL FIRE photo.

A truck carrying 2,000 gallons of propane crashed, burned, and ignited the leaking gas Monday morning in Northern California seven miles west of Gridley on the Colusa Highway near Schohr Ranch Road.

For hours, firefighters were forced to stay back and evacuations were ordered within a one mile radius of the incident. The fire spread to a dry rice field which was suppressed at a distance from the burning truck.

Large pressurized flammable gas tanks exposed to extreme heat can create a very powerful explosion called a “BLEVE“, or boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion. These can be deadly within thousands of feet, depending on the quantity of flammable gas involved.

Colusa Incident propane truck fire
Colusa Incident. The fire spread into a dry rice field. CAL FIRE photo.

The incident was reported around 9 a.m. Monday and at 2 p.m. the firefighters stopped the propane from leaking and arranged for the owner of the truck to remove the remaining propane. The firefighters expected to finish the suppression and overhaul by about 4 p.m. Monday.

Map, Colusa Incident
Map, Colusa Incident
Map, Colusa Incident propane truck fire
Map, Colusa Incident

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.