Published: Fri, September 07, 2018

Delta Fire Shuts Down I-5, Snarling Traffic

Delta Fire Shuts Down I-5, Snarling Traffic

TRINITY COUNTY, Calif. - In the latest update from the State-Trinity National Forest Service as of 10 a.m. on September 6, Northbound Interstate 5 is closed at the Fawndale exit approximately 10 miles north of Redding.

The blaze in Shasta County was reported during the afternoon and within hours had charred almost 8 square miles (about 21 square kilometers) of brush and timber in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest about 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

Numerous structures are threatened, and the Shasta County Sheriff's Office has issued mandatory evacuation orders along the I-5 corridor from Lamoine north to the Shasta-Siskiyou County line.

Both directions of a major highway connecting California and OR were closed and evacuations were ordered Wednesday when a fast-moving wildfire swept through a wilderness area. Trinity County residents of East Fork Road to Ramshorn Road were also told to evacuate Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters have not been able to build any containment lines against the fast-moving blaze, officials with the Shasta-Trinity National Forest said on Twitter. Cal Fire has requested extra money in seven of the past 10 years but never this early, according to the Department of Finance.

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

Interstate 5 has been closed for about 10 miles around Redding, about 130 miles northwest of Sacramento in Shasta County.

"There's vehicles scattered all over", said Brandon Vaccaro with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Ranchers were told to prepare to move livestock out of the area in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

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

"It isn't a lot of people", he said.

Along a section of California's busy I-5 freeway Thursday, crews removed the burned out remains of several big rigs that fell prey to the destructive blast of the Delta Fire. The highway has been closed in both directions in that area.

The city of Dunsmuir, with about 1,500 people, was about 15 miles (24 kilometres) from the fire.

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