Published: Sun, September 09, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

New wildfire rips through northern California

New wildfire rips through northern California

-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.

Fueled by winds, warm weather and extremely dry brush, the Delta Fire fire in northern Shasta County tripled in size overnight reaching 15,294 acres and has prompted evacuations in several smaller communities along Interstate 5 in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, officials announced Thursday morning.

By Thursday night it had grown to 34 square miles (89 square kilometers) and had damaged three buildings, although there was no confirmation of any homes being destroyed.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but was listed as "human"- meaning it could have been accidental or purposely started.

Truckers were forced to abandon their vehicles as flames roared up hillsides. At least four tractor trailers caught fire along the stretch of I-5 and 17 big rigs were simply abandoned in the roadway.

An explosive wildfire closed down dozens of miles of a major California freeway only weeks after a nearby blaze that left neighborhoods in ruins and killed eight people.

Meanwhile, Amtrak's Coast Starlight service is temporarily delayed from Sacramento to Klamath Falls, Oregon because of the fire, a spokeswoman said.

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The fire is in a rural area with scattered homes.

The highway that runs between Mexico and Canada, and is the main thoroughfare for commercial trucks, is closed for a third day and officials are meeting to assess whether it can reopen. Areas east of Trinity River from Trinity Lake to Ramshorn Road are under advisory evacuation notice. Parked trucks lined more than two miles of the highway as both directions remained closed to traffic.

The underbrush is being removed with a combination of bulldozers and hand tools, as well as controlled burning operations, Captain Brandon Vaccaro, a spokesman for the Delta fire incident command, said. Residents were urged to be prepared to leave if the fire threatened. We will provide updates as more information becomes available.

"People are packing right now, just to be ready in case", he said. There were no reports yet of any containment, which refers to the perimeter line firefighters have established to contain and eventually suppress the fire.

Interstate 5 remains closed for a almost 50-mile stretch as the Delta Fire continues to spread, now standing at almost 25,000 acres with zero containment.

A burned big rig sits abandoned along Interstate 5.

Pimlott said in the letter Thursday that additional funds would be used to hire more firefighters and secure additional helicopters for his agency.

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