Northern California wildfire triples in size, destroys multiple big rigs

NZ firefighters return home after battling California blazes         
          RNZ

NZ firefighters return home after battling California blazes RNZ

The AP reported that Cal Fire has requested additional funding in seven of the past 10 years. The agency warns motorists and truckers to avoid the region if possible. Drivers are advised to use an alternate route. But the interstate was expected to open Sunday. By 6:00 p.m., it had grown to 2,000 acres.

On the side affecting Trinity County, the fire continues to progress to the west toward Trinity Lake, where multiple structures are threatened.

Thursday's blaze along I-5 has blackened 23 square miles, prompting mandatory evacuations. Southbound I-5 is now closed at Mott Road, north of Dunsmuir, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Mendocino Complex - two blazes that burned side by side north of San Francisco - also prompted the evacuation of thousands of people.

Chris Losi, a spokesman for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, said rural homes and cabins in and around the forest were under evacuation orders, from the community Lakehead north to the Siskiyou County line. "Whatever occurred here was probably pretty ugly for a while".

In this photo taken September 6, the Delta Fire burns as a CHP cruiser travels on a road close to Interstate 5 in Lakehead, Calif.

The fire was human-caused, fire officials said. It had no containment Wednesday evening.

The two fires on Thursday were raging just weeks after a blaze in the Redding area killed eight people and burned some 1,100 homes in a frightening start to the fire season.

The California Highway Patrol says reopening Interstate 5 is a priority but that highway patrol, fire and transportation officials will meet Friday to assess when to reopen the interstate running from the U.S. -Mexico border to the U.S. At least two trucks were partially melted.

Back in the towns, he said he and the other New Zealanders had been unprepared for the support and generosity of locals, some of whom would have lost homes or known friends and family who had.

"My dad could barely get out fast enough (sic) all he got out with was a roll of tp (sic) a gallon of water and food for his dog".

"I've been delayed a day and a half already", said one trucker. "It's just not a safe situation", she said.

Fire trucks pass the Delta Fire burning in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.

"That is our main focus on this, is firefighter and public safety", Underhill said.

Initially reported as three fires, they merged into one fire that is estimated to be 5,000 acres in size. 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.

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