Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Wildfire that closed key California highway doubles in size

Wildfire that closed key California highway doubles in size

"I can't breathe", the woman says, sobbing. "We want to make sure these guys have something to come home to".

Trucking companies expect snowstorms in winter to interrupt the flow between California and OR, but a wildfire shutting down Interstate 5 for days wasn't something shippers OR their customers were expecting before Wednesday's Delta fire broke out between Dunsmuir and Shasta Lake.

The Boot Fire began Tuesday in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. But the main highway between Mexico and Canada was a ghost road Friday morning along a 72-kilometer northern stretch that remained closed since a fire two days earlier swept down and turned hills on either side into walls of flame.

Over the next 24 hours, officials anticipate continued spread to the north into Slate Creek, east towards the Hirz fire footprint.

A previous fire this year near Redding and another in the Mendocino area - the two largest blazes in the state this year - destroyed or damaged 8,800 homes and 329 businesses.

More news: Serena Williams fined $17,000 for U.S. Open violations

The Mendocino Complex fire burned over 459,000 acres and is the largest wildfire in the modern California history. There is now no containment on the fire.

Pimlott said in the letter Thursday that additional funds would be used to hire more firefighters and secure additional helicopters for his agency.

The Legislature budgets for firefighting costs based on historical averages.

So far the state has been hit with 5,491 wildfires this year, burning 1.2 million acres, according to Cal Fire. Firefighters are working to strengthen and improve a control line on Middle Ridge, which will offer an opportunity to conduct defensive back burning operations and hold the fire from spreading further north along the Interstate 5 corridor.

"It's not in the middle of a town, but there are some rural residences" in the area, Shasta-Trinity National Forest spokeswoman Carol Underhill said.

More news: Rafael Nadal outlasts Thiem in 5-set U.S. Open thriller

California accounts for 10 percent of all the acreage burned in the USA since 2000, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

"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. Officials say about 17 big-rigs were abandoned and at least four caught fire. Kyle Foster of the California Highway Patrol's Mount Shasta office told the Los Angeles Times.

At least two people appear to have lost homes in the fire. Drivers fled in terror and several big-rigs burned. The fire front was up to three miles wide on the north side, with flame lengths estimated at 300 feet. Truckers, firefighters and others aided more drivers.

Much of the effort has also focused on protecting scattered homes and small communities in the sparsely populated fire zone.

'Whatever occurred here was probably pretty ugly for a while'.

More news: Most of OH under flood watches as remnants of Gordon move in

Thursday's blaze along I-5 has blackened 23 square miles, prompting mandatory evacuations. Officials have issued a warning to residents of potential evacuation, although the fire was about 15 miles away on Friday afternoon.

Like this: