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Semi truck fire spreads to brush along Hwy 101 near Atascadero

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Posted at 2:05 PM, Aug 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-19 22:27:26-04

UPDATE (6:45 p.m.) - The California Highway Patrol says the driver of a semi truck that caught fire Monday afternoon south of Atascadero tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, but the fire grew beyond his control.

CHP says the truck was headed southbound on Highway 101, loaded with 79,000 pounds of rocks.

When a rear tire on the trailer went flat, the driver reportedly pulled over to the right shoulder of the highway and got out to check on the tire. Officers say he noticed the back tire start smoking and went to retrieve his fire extinguisher but by the time he got back to the tire, flames had spread to the vegetation along the side of the highway.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to 3/4 acre.

Both southbound lanes of the highway were closed while firefighters battled the fire. The fast lane is now open, but the slow lane remains closed while crews work to remove the burned truck and trailer.

The driver was not hurt.

UPDATE (3:05 p.m.) - One lane of southbound Highway 101 was reopened shortly before 3 p.m.

The slow lane is expected to remain closed for another five hours.

UPDATE (2:40 p.m.) - CAL FIRE says forward progress of a brush fire off Highway 101 south of Atascadero has been stopped.

The fire reportedly burned 3/4 of an acre.

It was started when flames from a semi truck fire in the southbound lanes spread to nearby vegetation.

Southbound Highway 101 was closed as a result of the fire and drivers were being diverted off the highway at Santa Barbara Road and being advised to use El Camino Real as a detour.


UPDATE (2:34 p.m.) - CAL FIRE says a brush fire that started after flames from a semi truck fire spread to nearby vegetation is holding at 1/2 acre.

Monday's fire broke out not far from where a brush fire burned 45 acres on Friday. The Oak Fire was sparked by a pickup truck that suffered a broken drive line and spun out into the center divider.

UPDATE (2:15 p.m.) - The California Highway Patrol says the southbound lanes of Highway 101 are closed south of Atascadero. Drivers are being diverted off the highway at Santa Barbara Road and being advised to use El Camino Real as a detour.

The northbound lanes remained open as of 2:15 p.m.

(2:05 p.m.) - A fire along Highway 101 Monday afternoon near Atascadero was shutting down lanes of the highway once again.

The California Highway Patrol at 1:49 p.m. reported brush on fire and a semi pulled off to the side of the highway in the southbound lanes near the Santa Barbara Road offramp.

A vehicle reportedly caught fire and the flames spread to nearby vegetation.

Crews were requesting the southbound lanes be closed shortly before 2 p.m., according to CHP.

Drivers in the area were reporting heavy smoke and traffic backing up.

No other details were immediately available.