Trucks abandoned as California wildfire shuts down I-5
08 September, 2018, 22:06 | Author: Donnie King
A roaring wildfire that has shut down a stretch of a major interstate in a rural area near the California-Oregon border almost doubled in size overnight.
The U.S. Forest Service says in a statement Friday the blaze is now 38 square miles (98 square kilometers).
The Mendocino Complex - which was made up of two fires - burned some 1,100 homes in and around the Redding area and killed eight people last month.
Evacuation orders remain in effect for Shasta County residents along the Interstate 5 corridor from Exit 707 at Vollmers north to Exit 714 at Gibson, as well as for residents in Trinity County from East Fork Road to Ramshorn Road east to the county line.
Footage posted by KRCR-TV of Redding showed roaring flames and plumes of dark smoke as some trucks and cars were left abandoned on the side of Interstate 5.
About 17 trucks were abandoned along the interstate and at least four caught fire, Lieutenant Commander Kyle Foster of the California Highway Patrol's Mount Shasta office told the Los Angeles Times.
The major artery of California's spine remained closed as firefighters battled the latest wildfire to erupt during one of the state's most destructive fire season in its history.
The blaze also delayed Amtrak's Coast Starlight service between Sacramento and Oregon.
Much of the effort has also focused on protecting scattered homes and small communities in the sparsely populated fire zone, but an unspecified number of homes have been destroyed, he said.
A crew of 34 firefighters have touched down in New Zealand after spending nearly six weeks battling wildfires in California.
An up-to-date list of mandated evacuated areas is available, here.
The fire was showing "critical" behavior - burning fiercely and moving rapidly - but was still far away from any large towns, he added.
Although the fire wasn't burning near any large towns, fire spokesman Brandon Vacarro said about 280 homes were considered threatened.
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.
'It isn't a lot of people, ' he said.
According to fire managers at the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the Delta fire was initially reported as three fires shortly after noon on Wednesday. Numerous contingency firelines on the eastern side of the Hirz Fire may be used in the efforts to control the Delta Fire.
"Siskiyou County Evacuations: The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office has issued an evacuation warning for all residents of Dunsmuir".
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.
The blaze has devoured timber and brush on both sides of Interstate 5 - damaging several big rigs and forcing the closure since Wednesday of a 45-mile stretch of the freeway, which runs between Mexico and Canada.
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