Wildfire that closed key California highway explodes in size

Aaron Brown
September 10, 2018

The fire erupted Wednesday afternoon in a rural area and devoured timber and brush on both sides of Interstate 5 as it almost tripled in size to 15,294 acres overnight, officials said Thursday.

The Delta Fire, the latest wildfire to chew through heavy brush and terrain in Shasta County at a rapid clip, has grown to almost 58 square miles and continues to burn without containment.

In this photo taken September 6, the Delta Fire burns as a CHP cruiser travels on a road close to Interstate 5 in Lakehead, Calif.

During a community meeting Friday night in Dunsmuir, officials said that the fire was progressing primarily to the northwest but was also "extremely active" along the eastern edge between Interstate 5 and the month-old Hirz Fire.

The Shasta County Sheriff's Office is conducting evacuations on both sides of I-5 north of Lakehead to the Shasta-Siskiyou county line.

California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Denise Yergenson said that section of I-5 will remain closed through the weekend.

U.S. Forest Service workers helped the driver of one flaming truck to safety and other truckers, firefighters and others aided other drivers, he said.

On the fire's southeast side, near Riverview, firefighters are planning to use Middle Salt Creek as their southernmost control line.

People should also make arrangements for their pets to be safe, he said.

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'Whatever occurred here was probably pretty ugly for a while'.

As of Thursday morning, the Shasta County Sheriffs Office issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents living along Interstate 5 from exit 707 to 714.

The fire is in a rural area with scattered homes. Drivers can take I-5 South to Mount Shasta.

The unrelenting flames have drained California's firefighting budget and prompted almost a billion dollars in property claims even before the start of the unsafe autumn fire season, officials said.

At least two people appear to have lost homes in the fire.

The scale of the Carr and Ferguson fires, blowing eastward across the western United States, is apparent in this photo by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst aboard the International Space Station. The truckers are exhausted and just want to get going.

A previous fire this year near Redding and another in the Mendocino area - the two largest blazes in the state this year - destroyed or damaged 8,800 homes and 329 businesses.

It is one of the two parts of the Mendocino Complex Fire that grew to become the state's largest recorded wildfire in history.

Amtrak delayed its Coast Starlight service from Sacramento to OR because of the fire.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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