Wildfire keeps major California highway closed for third day

California wildfire shuts down major interstate highway

A firefighter sprays the smoldering remains of a vehicle on Interstate 5 as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California.

Vaccaro said about 300 people were under mandatory evacuation orders in Shasta and Trinity counties.

The deadly Carr Fire and another in the Mendocino area - the two largest blazes in the state this year - destroyed or damaged 8,800 homes and 329 businesses, Insurance Commissioner David Jones said.

Fire officials feared that once the inversion layer sitting over the fire cleared, the blaze would once again explode through the mountainous forest region, heading farther north toward Gibson, east toward Greens Mountain and west toward Damnation Peak.

Truckers abandoned big-rigs and motorists screamed in fear as they came dangerously close to an explosive wildfire that shut down about 45 miles of a major California interstate near the OR border that authorities were desperately trying to reopen.

California has been badly hit by forest fires in a hot and dry summer season, including the biggest fire in the western state's history, as well as many other major blazes that left more than a dozen people dead.

Drivers fled in terror and several big rigs burned on Wednesday as the fire erupted on both sides of the route. Fire officials added that by Friday the wildfire could reach the area recently ravaged by the Hirz Fire, which is now 75% contained.

Follow the Shasta County Sheriff's Facebook page: "www.facebook.com/Shasta-County-Sheriffs-Office-1527637610823075/". Life safety is a top priority for firefighters, and the Shasta County Sheriff's Office is coordinating evacuations for areas affected by the incident.

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According to fire managers at the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the Delta fire was initially reported as three fires shortly after noon on Wednesday.

While New Zealanders fighting fires in OR to the north had been glad of their Swanndris to keep them warm at night, in California the heat was "unrelenting", 30C overnight and 40C during the day.

A contingent of 34 fire personnel arrived back at Auckland International Airport early on Saturday morning; another 65 firefighters return from fighting the Canadian fires on Sunday morning.

Authorities say that 45 miles of Interstate 5 will be closed until Friday due to the Delta Fire.

In 2018 to date, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has fought 4,587 fires blackening 612,710 acres, the agency reported.

For these, you can zoom in closer to see the Delta Fire specifically.

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

The fire erupted on Wednesday afternoon in a rural area and devoured timber and brush on both sides of Interstate 5 as it almost tripled in size overnight, officials said. It was only fully contained last week.

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