100°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Hay truck burns at Death Valley park, prompting closure of a road

Daylight Pass Road in Death Valley National Park reopened on May 15 after being closed for several days due to a commercial vehicle that caught on fire.

Commercial trucks are prohibited on park roads, and park rangers are concerned about safety hazards posed by frequent violations of this restriction, Death Valley National Park said in providing details via a news release.

On May 11, a man driving a tractor-trailer headed towards Las Vegas on U.S. Highway 95 took a wrong turn in Beatty. As the driver entered the park, about 9 miles from Beatty, he passed a sign prohibiting trucks.

The incident happened as the truck descended the west side of Daylight Pass. Park rangers noticed smoke in the area around 2 p.m. and responded with a fire engine to find the truck and its cargo of hay bales engulfed in flames. The driver, a 44-year-old man from El Cajon, California, was transported by ambulance for medical assistance.

During the partial shutdown of the federal government, park rangers responded to a similar incident on Jan. 8, 2019. A truck hauling frozen food rolled over in Mud Canyon, west of Daylight Pass.

In another incident, a truck hauling bottled water caught on fire on Daylight Pass Road on Aug. 23, 2018.

Park rangers have routinely cited drivers for operating commercial vehicles on park roads.

Death Valley National Park’s roads aren’t designed for use by tractor trailers and commercial vehicles are prohibited from using park roads. Park roads have long, steep grades. Extreme temperatures contribute to the risk of overheating brakes. Park visitors can create hazards because they often drive erratically or stop in the middle of the road.

Superintendent Mike Reynolds said, “Every truck driver I’ve ever talked to who decided to drive through the park, that didn’t have to, regretted their decision after the fact due to the extreme road conditions found here.”

The only road inside Death Valley National Park that is open to commercial traffic is California Highway 190. However, Highway 190 gains and loses about 5,000 feet of elevation over Towne Pass, with grades up to 9.3%.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Two transported after collision at Hwy 160, 372

Two people were transported to Desert View Hospital following a two vehicle collision at the intersection of Highways 160 and 372 at approximately 1 p.m., on Thursday June 17.

Hit and run crash leads to power outage

A hit and run crash led to a power outage on Wednesday, according to authorities..

Cooling stations open in Pahrump

As triple-digit temperatures are expected to extend into next week and beyond in Pahrump, there are some area residents whose homes are not adequately adapted to handle the heat.

Social services fair deemed a success in Nye

The Nye County Social Services Fair attracted more than 200 families and individuals seeking information on the various services provided by the county and other area entities.

Nye County to receive additional $9 million in federal COVID monies

One year after the announcement that Nye County would be receiving $8.5 million in federal dollars thanks to the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, a second round of federal monies is making its way to local governments and the county is expecting to receive another COVID-19 windfall, this time for over $9 million.

Zambelli prepping for Pahrump’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the traditional town of Pahrump Fourth of July Fireworks Show, forcing town officials to restrict access to the park and require that attendees stay in their vehicles to watch the fantastic display, much to the chagrin of the general public. This year, however, things are returning to normal and the entire community will have the opportunity to head out to Petrack Park on Independence Day and relax in the grassy fields for what Zambelli Fireworks crews are promising will be an incredible pyrotechnic experience.

Natural Vibes fundraiser to benefit Clean Up Pahrump

Natural Vibes Wellness and Nutrition Center is continuing in its mission to give back to the local community, with another fundraiser set for this coming Saturday and this time, the beneficiary will be Clean Up Pahrump, a nonprofit organization with the goal of dedicating time each week to picking up trash and removing debris from the valley’s roadways and stretches of unoccupied land.