Photos provided by Hoopa Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services Fire Chief Rod Mendes.

LoCO admittedly buried the lead on that weekend car fire near Weitchpec.

Turns out the fire along Highway 96 wasn’t just caused by a single-vehicle rollover crash. It was caused by a bear falling — yes falling — onto a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle.

Caltrans announced on Facebook this evening that the sheriff’s vehicle crashed into an embankment after it was whomped by the falling bear, causing it to catch fire.

The Sheriff’s deputy was reportedly able to escape the burning vehicle without serious injury and the bear was seen fleeing the scene of the fall.

Henceforth, it will be LoCO policy to ask if any future fires are caused by falling bears.

Read more from Caltrans below:

CAUTION FALLING BEAR! A Humboldt County Sherriff’s patrol vehicle was struck by a falling bear while traveling north on Highway 96 last week. The vehicle caught fire after striking an embankment and the deputy escaped the vehicle without serious injury. Don’t worry, the bear also fled the scene.

Travelers are reminded to stay alert while exploring the beautiful highways and nature of District 1. Bears, elk and deer are just some of the critters sharing our coastal home.


PREVIOUSLY: Firefighters Stop Weekend Car Fire From Growing Out of Control Near Weitchpec