Four wildland firefighters are dead following a head-on collision on the Trans-Canada Highway west of Kamloops.
Emergency crews were called to a stretch of highway near Walhachin, between Savona and Cache Creek, at about 2 a.m. Tuesday for a report of a collision.
RCMP Cpl. James Grandy said investigators believe a Ford F-350 failed to navigate a bend in the road and crossed the centre line, colliding head-on with a transport truck.
He said the driver of the semi was able to escape before his vehicle caught fire, but the four occupants of the pickup truck died at the scene.
“Tragically, the four individuals have been identified as BC Wildfire Service subcontractors who were travelling home from assisting with fire suppression efforts,” Grandy said.
“This year has been particularly challenging for the BC Wildfire Service, with several of its members facing injuries or losing their lives. Our thoughts are with the friends and family of those who help keep our province safe.”
The crew was driving home after helping with firefighting in the Vanderhoof area.
Premier David Eby and Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston also issued a statement Wednesday afternoon: "This is devastating news in what has been an immensely difficult wildfire season. We stand with wildfire fighters and all BC Wildfire Service personnel as they mourn the death of colleagues and co-workers yet again.
"Firefighters are on the front lines in so many parts of B.C., creating hope from despair and working tirelessly to save lives and livelihoods. Words cannot express the depth of our gratitude."
The highway was closed for hours, reopening late Tuesday morning.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing.