Wildfire that closed California interstate explodes in size

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Another raging and rapidly growing wildfire this week in Northern California has prompted evacuations, road closings and a massive firefighting response, the US Forest Service said.

Much of the effort has also focused on protecting scattered homes and small communities in the sparsely populated fire zone, but an unspecified number of homes have been destroyed, he said.

The fire was caused by human activity, but no additional details are now known.

Crews managed to remove the burned hulks and abandoned rigs on Thursday but flames continued to burn along the edge of the road in some areas, fire spokesman Brandon Vacarro said.

California has been badly hit by forest fires in a hot and dry summer season, including the biggest fire in the western state's history, as well as many other major blazes that left more than a dozen people dead.

Evacuation orders remain in effect for Shasta County residents along the Interstate 5 corridor from Exit 707 at Vollmers north to Exit 714 at Gibson, as well as for residents in Trinity County from East Fork Road to Ramshorn Road east to the county line.

Along a section of California's busy I-5 freeway Thursday, crews removed the burned out remains of several big rigs that fell prey to the destructive blast of the Delta Fire. Fire officials added that by Friday the wildfire could reach the area recently ravaged by the Hirz Fire, which is now 75% contained. Residents of nearby Dunsmuir, Calif., have been told to be ready to evacuate as the wildfire shows no sign of slowing down due to weather conditions. Areas east of Trinity River from Trinity Lake to Ramshorn Road are under advisory evacuation notice.

The fire, which started on August 5, caused the complete shutdown of Interstate 5, with still no estimated time for reopening.

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"There is active fire close to the highway", she said.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has responded to 4,587 fires that have destroyed 613,710 acres (248,359 hectares), compared with 4,425 fires that destroyed 233,936 acres (94,671 hectares) through the same period in 2017, according to figures from the agency.

"The worst may be yet to come", Commissioner David Jones warned at a San Francisco news conference, noting California wildfires are typically more destructive after September 1.

The Delta Fire 24 miles north of Redding, California has grown to approximately 22,000 acres according to the latest estimate from fire officials.

The Delta Fire erupted Wednesday afternoon in a rural area just north of the town of Lakehead in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near the Oregon-Washington border.

The fire began Wednesday and almost tripled in size overnight, officials said. It was only fully contained last week.

The US Forest Service said the blaze is now covering 38 square miles, up from 34 square miles on Thursday night.

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