41°F
weather icon Clear

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
Child porn suspect arrested

A Pahrump woman was arrested following a child porn investigation.

Pahrump man faces animal abuse charges

Nye County Sheriff’s Office deputies and animal control officers are investigating two reports of alleged animal abuse.

Community Thanksgiving event offering free holiday meals

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and for the Pahrump Holiday Task Force, it’s going to be a busy one as the committee prepares, packages and distributes hundreds of free Thanksgiving dinners, complete with traditional turkey and tasty trimmings.

Recall effort comes to a close in Nye County

November is coming to a rapid close and with its December 3 deadline looming, Battle Born Patriots is wrapping up its effort aimed at recalling Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak.

GOED project will connect tech firms to grant programs

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development has expanded a program statewide through Nevada’s two universities to help technology entrepreneurs earn federal grant funding to support early-stage development of their businesses or innovations.

Sisolak taps Gibson for Gaming Control Board

Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced the appointment of J. Brin Gibson to the Gaming Control Board and designated him to serve as the new chair and executive director. Gibson will fill a vacancy left after the departure of Sandra Douglass Morgan and took over as of Nov. 18.

More than $28 milllion in unclaimed property returned

Nevada State Treasurer Zach Conine on Thursday announced the return of more than $28.5 million in unclaimed property to Nevadans by the Treasurer’s Office Unclaimed Property Division.

Gaming win down by double-digit percentages for 8th straight month

Gaming Control Board numbers show Southern Nevada casinos faring worse than their northern counterparts with significant declines on the Strip and in downtown Las Vegas.

Red Cross offers tips for safe holiday season

Thanksgiving promises to be different this year from any other, and the American Red Cross reminds everyone to include important safety ingredients as part of holiday activities.

Ford pleased by judge’s rejection of election motion

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford on Friday released a statement after Clark County District Judge Gloria Sturman denied a request for an emergency injunction that would have prevented Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske from certifying the results of the general election.