Crews fight to outflank raging Northern California wildfire

11 September, 2018, 03:05 | Author: Jason Torres
  • The fire shut down miles of Interstate 5 and there was no immediate word on when it would reopen

The recommended detour for I-5 motorists, using Highway 299, adds 140 miles of driving.

The agency's website now recognizes 17 major wildfires burning across the state, with just one fully contained.

A volatile wildfire less than 10 miles from the long-burning Hirz Fire north of Redding jumped the freeway, destroyed abandoned trucks and forced evacuations all the way to the Siskiyou County border as it ballooned to 15,294 acres Thursday morning.

The California agency responsible for battling wildfires in the state says it needs $234 million more to effectively combat wildfires for the remainder of 2018.

The fire has chewed through 58 square miles (150 square kilometers) of timber since Wednesday.

Before the highway is reopened, authorities have to check the safety of the pavement and cut down burned trees next to the road - some of them 70 feet tall - that might be in danger of falling down.

Patience was running thin at the Pilot Travel Center in the town of Weed, near the northern end of the closure.

Fire officials say they don't expect to have containment of the fire, which started on Wednesday, until at least September 22.

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"It's been ridiculously congested".

Damage tallies for the newest fire weren't available yet Wednesday night, but California Highway Patrol Sgt. Tim Hinkson said at least several trucks had burned.

The Delta Fire was burning in timber and brush in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in a canyon along the Sacramento River.

"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.

In Northern California, the Delta fire - which forced the closure of a stretch of Interstate 5, which runs the length of the state - had consumed almost 37,000 acres as of Saturday, the newspaper reported.

The Delta Fire was human-caused, fire officials said, but they didn't indicate whether it was arson or accident. In fact, the fire was moving into an area already burned by a larger blaze called the Hirz Fire.

This summer, more than a dozen fires burned at the same time throughout California, and the next month could see more fire activity as dried-out grass and Santa Ana winds potentially aggravate any fire that starts, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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