California Wildfire Shuts Down 50-Mile Stretch of Busy Interstate to Oregon

California wildfire shuts down major interstate highway

California wildfire shuts down major interstate highway

In the video, a woman is heard begging her boyfriend to get out of their vehicle and leave as the fire raged closer to them.

"I could barely see and like if I went outside, I couldn't even breathe", he said. "Please, guys, come put it out".

The Delta Fire erupted Wednesday afternoon in a rural area just north of the town of Lakehead in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near the Oregon-Washington border.

The U.S. Forest Service says in a statement Friday the blaze is now 38 square miles (98 square kilometers).

The Boot Fire began Tuesday in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

The wildfire flared just weeks after a blaze in the Redding area killed eight people and burned about 1,100 homes.

California's firefighting agency is about to exceed its budget and needs $234 million more, Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott said in a letter to lawmakers Thursday. It's now 15,294 acres after first being reported on September 5 at 12:51 p.m., with 0 percent containment.

Now the state's focus is on two large wildfires in northern California.

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The US Forest Service said the blaze is now covering 38 square miles, up from 34 square miles on Thursday night. It prompted mandatory evacuations and was moving rapidly but remained far from any large towns.

Officials did not immediately say how many people the evacuation order affected.

More than 1,500 people have been deployed to combat the fire, which was expected to push further north in the next 24 hours, authorities said.

The unrelenting flames have drained California's firefighting budget and prompted almost a billion dollars in property claims even before the start of the unsafe autumn fire season, officials said.

About 17 big-rigs were abandoned along the interstate and at least four caught fire, Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Foster of the California Highway Patrol's Mount Shasta office told the Los Angeles Times. Aircraft have been used heavily in the last two days to assist with slowing the fire's progression and protecting communities and infrastructure.

An intense wildfire roared unchecked for a second day on Thursday through drought-desiccated timber in Northern California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest, threatening scores of homes and forcing the closure of an interstate highway after motorists had to flee their vehicles.

Denise Yergenson, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation, said Friday the wildfire that shut down Interstate 5 on Wednesday was still burning out of control along the highway.

Officials on Sunday will reevaluate whether to reopen the route that traverses the entire West Coast from Mexico to Canada and usually swarms with trucks and traffic.

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