Abandoned trucks litter California highway as wildfire rages

09 September, 2018, 14:25 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • The fire shut down miles of Interstate 5 and there was no immediate word on when it would reopen

-A roaring wildfire that has shut down a stretch of a major interstate in a rural area near the California-Oregon border has almost doubled in size overnight.

The Delta Fire is largely confined within Shasta-Trinity National Forest, near Redding. Officials say about 17 big-rigs were abandoned and at least four caught fire. On Wednesday, flames raced across Interstate 5, chasing a number of truckers from their vehicles before flames engulfed their abandoned rigs, though no serious injuries were reported.

The wildfire, which started near Lake Shasta last Wednesday, has already burned through 25 square miles.

The Mendocino Complex - two blazes that burned side by side north of San Francisco - also prompted the evacuation of thousands of people.

Northbound I-5 is now closed at Fawndale Road, north of Redding.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has responded to 4,587 fires that have destroyed 613,710 acres (248,359 hectares), compared with 4,425 fires that destroyed 233,936 acres (94,671 hectares) through the same period in 2017, according to figures from the agency. The state's fire agency says it's nearly out money, having spent $432 million to fight fires through August and the "official" fire season has only just begun. On Sunday, officials will reevaluate whether to reopen the route, but before the highway reopens, authorities have to check the safety of the pavement. and cut down burned trees next to the road.

About 45 miles of the I-5 were closed in both directions, said Chris Losi, a spokesman for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

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The fire was showing "critical" behaviour - burning fiercely and moving rapidly - but was still far away from any large towns, he added.

This is a U.S. Forest Service photograph of the Delta Fire.

A long stretch of Interstate 5 (I-5), a major highway that runs the length of the West Coast from Canada to Mexico, was closed to prevent motorists from being trapped by the blaze.

Shasta County communities are still recovering from a devastating blaze this summer that killed eight people and incinerated hundreds of dwellings in and around Redding.

"They had a lot of ground troops- they just didn't have many people to manage them, so our people were in charge of crews", he said.

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

"Siskiyou County Evacuations: The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office has issued an evacuation warning for all residents of Dunsmuir".

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