Homes evacuated as Northern California wildfire triples in size

The blaze forced the closure of the Interstate 5 road.


A firefighter sprays the smoldering remains of a vehicle on Interstate 5 (AP)
A firefighter sprays the smoldering remains of a vehicle on Interstate 5 (AP)

A Northern California wildfire that closed down a major road has tripled in size, prompting evacuation orders, officials have said.

The US Forest Service said the blaze burning along Interstate 5 near Redding had grown to 23 square miles, from eight square miles on Wednesday.

Both directions of the road connecting California and Oregon were closed after the fast moving blaze swept through a wooded area.

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A scorched logging truck rests on the road after becoming caught in the Delta Fire (AP)

The blaze in Shasta County has charred the Shasta-Trinity National Forest about 200 miles north of San Francisco.

The so-called Delta Fire was caused by humans, fire officials said, although they did not indicate whether it was arson or an accident.

It also delayed Amtrak’s Coast Starlight service between Sacramento and Oregon.

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A view of the blaze from the road near Lake Shasta (AP)

Footage posted by KRCR-TV of Redding showed roaring flames and plumes of dark smoke as some trucks and cars were left abandoned on the side of Interstate 5.

Several trucks were burned and would have to be removed before the road could reopen.

In a video, a passenger in a vehicle on the road screams: “Oh my God, I want to go!” as trees catch fire and flames race up a hillside next to the road.

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The blaze comes just weeks after the deadly Carr Fire in the same state (AP)

The key interstate was closed from 10 miles north of Redding to an area just south of Mount Shasta.

The Delta Fire is not burning near large towns for the moment, but it is threatening a number of structures in an area of campgrounds, recreational residences and cabins, forest spokeswoman Kerry Greene said.

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The blaze comes just weeks after a devastating fire destroyed nearly 1,100 homes and killed eight people in the same area. That blaze, the Carr Fire, was declared contained only last week.

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