Northern California wildfire closes major interstate as flames devour 15,000 acres

08 September, 2018, 22:05 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Interstate 5 is seen completely empty in Lamoine Calif. in the Shasta Trinity National Forest on Sept. 6 2018

A raging wildfire burning in Shasta County has charred 15,294 acres as of Thursday morning, the U.S. Forest Service said.

State Route 108 was closed from the Alpine-Mono county line to USA 395, which was already shut down in the mountainous region about 320 kilometers (200 miles) east of Sacramento, the California Department of Transportation said.

One fire in the state has grown to more than 7 square miles as of Thursday, according to the AP, forcing the shutdown of a major highway and evacuation of a military base.

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

Fierce orange flames forced panicked truckers to abandon big-rigs and brought screams from motorists as they watched the advancing fire in Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

The California Highway Patrol says reopening Interstate 5 is a priority but that highway patrol, fire and transportation officials will meet Friday to assess when to reopen the interstate running from the U.S. -Mexico border to the U.S.

The wildfire closed down dozens of miles of a major California freeway only weeks after a nearby blaze left neighborhoods in ruins and killed eight people. As a result, Amtrak temporarily suspended its Coast Starlight passenger train service between Sacramento, California, and Klamath Falls, Oregon.

A burned home is seen during the Delta Fire in the Shasta Trinity National Forest on Sept. 6 2018
A burned home is seen during the Delta Fire in the Shasta Trinity National Forest on Sept. 6 2018

It comes just weeks after a devastating fire destroyed almost 1,100 homes and killed eight people in the same area.

Being in such close proximity to the delta fire has doubled smoke issues in the area, impacting firefighters, by reducing visibility. About 300 people have evacuated from the area. It prompted mandatory evacuations and was moving rapidly but remained far from any large towns.

No victims have so far been reported, but authorities have ordered evacuations in three counties threatened by the fire, as firefighters dug trenches and started controlled burns to starve the blaze of fuel.

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 Delta Fire north of Shasta Lake in Shasta County has shut down Interstate 5 and now burned at least 2,000 acres. - A wildfire on both sides of Interstate 5 has closed a almost 45-mile long stretch of the highway in Shasta County.

"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.

Follow the Shasta County Sheriff's Facebook page: "www.facebook.com/Shasta-County-Sheriffs-Office-1527637610823075/". Read on to see interactive maps of the fire along with the latest details on the fire's size, containment, and evacuations. It was only fully contained last week.

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