Northern California Wildfire Triples in Size Near Redding

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.

On the southern side, the fire has been active and slopped over portions of the control line on Mosquito Ridge. Over the last five years, the agency has spent an average of $156 million during those months.

The Legislature budgets for firefighting costs based on historical averages. On Thursday Cal Fire asked state lawmakers for an additional $234 million in funding to continue battling wildfires through the end of the year. Now evacuations are mandatory for anyone living along the Interstate 5 corridor from exit 707 at Vollmers north to exit 714 at Gibson. It was moving rapidly but was still far from any large towns. That has forced some motorists to take hours-long detours on narrow highways and Northern California vacationers to cancel weekend plans in destinations like Ashland, Ore.

A burned home is seen during the Delta Fire in the Shasta Trinity National Forest on September 6, 2018.

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).

People should also make arrangements for their pets to be safe, he said.

The unrelenting flames have drained California's firefighting budget and prompted almost $1 billion in property claims even before the start of the unsafe fall fire season, officials said Thursday. Officials say about 17 big-rigs were abandoned and at least four caught fire.

The California Highway Patrol said Thursday the closure of Interstate 5 in Shasta County has significantly snarled traffic.

At least two people appear to have lost homes in the fire.

The Forest Service said flames as tall as 300 feet were reported along the highway. Truckers, firefighters and others aided more drivers.

Fire officials said in a statement that crews were setting dozer lines and backfires to protect Highland Springs, north of Boulder Creek, as well as Castella and Dunsmuir farther north. "Whatever occurred here was probably pretty ugly for a while". Southbound Interstate 5 is closed 3.6 miles south of Mt. Shasta at Mott Rd. That's up from than 34 square miles (89 square kilometers) as of Thursday night. Residents were issued an evacuation warning, urging them to be prepared to leave if the fire threatened.

  • Rogelio Becker