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article imageWildfire that closed key California highway explodes in size

By Karen Graham     Sep 8, 2018 in Environment
Redding - The massive Delta fire that forced the shutdown of a 14-mile stretch of Interstate 5 in Northern California this week continues to grow, and the major north-south artery is expected to remain closed until at least Sunday, authorities said.
The Delta Fire started in California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest on September 5 around 1:00 p.m. local time. Rough terrain, hot temperatures, and gusty winds hampered firefighters, and the wildfire is burning out of control after chewing through 58 square miles (150 square kilometers) of timber and brush since Wednesday.
The California Highway Patrol announced Friday that a 45-mile (72-kilometer) section of Interstate 5 north of Redding would remain closed at least until Sunday. The fire has destroyed thousands of trees, some of them 70 feet (20 meters) tall.
The Forest Service and California DOT officials are concerned the burned trees could fall onto the highway that is a major commercial artery along the West Coast from Mexico to Canada.
Right now, Interstate 5 is a "Ghost Road" after the blaze turned hillsides on either side of the highway into a corridor of flames, causing drivers and passengers to flee their trucks and other vehicles.
By Friday night, the wildfire had burned 31,325 acres, fire officials said. On Saturday, it had jumped to 36,970 acres. There is 0 percent containment. More than 1,800 firefighters are battling the blaze, said Capt. Brandon Vaccaro, a media spokesman, adding that more resources have been requested from Cal Fire.
Nearly 300 homes are considered to be threatened, but thankfully, only two have been destroyed and there have been no fatalities as of Saturday evening.
Vaccaro said Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol, and other management organizations have been meeting daily to determine when it would be safe to reopen Interstate 5. “Opening the freeway is our top priority, but it needs to be safe to do so,” he said.
More about California, Wildfire, Delta fire, Out of control, interstate 5