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Interstate to stay closed amid California fire

08 September, 2018, 22:07 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Dramatic moment wildfire explodes along a California freeway

The U.S. Forest Service said Friday the deadly blaze burning in the Mendocino area since July 27 killed a Utah firefighter, destroyed 157 homes and charred 717 square miles (1860 square kilometers).

The city of Dunsmuir, with about 1,500 people, was about 15 miles (24 kilometres) from the fire.

The blaze comes as the area is already grappling with the destruction and trauma from the devastating Carr Fire, which burned over 1,000 homes and led to the deaths of eight people this summer.

By Thursday afternoon, I-5 northbound lanes were still closed at the Fawndale exit, approximately 10 miles north of Redding, and southbound lanes remained closed 3.6 miles south of Mount Shasta at Mott Road.

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. On Wednesday, flames raced across Interstate 5, chasing a number of truckers from their vehicles before flames engulfed their abandoned rigs, though no serious injuries were reported.

A wildfire nearby that was only contained last week left neighborhoods in ruins and killed eight people.

The blaze also delayed Amtrak's Coast Starlight service between Sacramento and Oregon.

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.

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The fire started earlier this week and is zero percent contained.

Follow the Shasta County Sheriff's Facebook page: "www.facebook.com/Shasta-County-Sheriffs-Office-1527637610823075/".

Meanwhile, a forest fire in California's eastern Sierra Nevada continued to grow and impacts on travel were increasing, officials said.

"People are packing right now, just to be ready in case", he said.

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.

Wipari Henwood and his crew were driving through the small Californian town of French Gulch, evacuated in this past month's fires, when a white Ford pick-up truck swerved across in front of them and jammed on the brakes. The red lines were the edge of the fire at 10 p.m. PDT on September 5 as mapped by a fixed wing aircraft.

The fire had burned more than 34 square miles of timber and brush and prompted evacuation orders for scattered homes and buildings in three counties in and around the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Numerous contingency firelines on the eastern side of the Hirz Fire may be used in the efforts to control the Delta Fire.

Some flames reached 300 feet in height, according to a U.S. Forest Service incident report.

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