Delta Fire Explodes in Size; I-5 Closed At Least Until Sunday

Dramatic moment wildfire explodes along a California freeway

California Highway Patrol Officer Jason Morton said the blaze is 0% contained and still burning along Interstate 5.

A shocking video shows the moment a terrified woman begged her boyfriend to abandon their big-rig after an explosive wildfire trapped dozens of drivers along a California freeway Wednesday afternoon.

A major West Coast highway remains closed for a third day as a wildfire continues to rage on forest flanking it in Northern California.

I-5 is closed to through traffic northbound at Fawndale exit and southbound at Mott Road. No injuries have been reported, but evacuations have been issued on both sides of I-5 north of Lakehead to the Shasta-Siskiyou county line.

Authorities announced Friday that a 45-mile (72-kilometer) section of Interstate 5 north of Redding would remain closed at least until Sunday. Among the immediate challenges is the Delta Fire in northern California.

The fire prompted evacuation orders for scattered homes and buildings in three counties in and around the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

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The Delta fire is believed to have been human-caused, but details aren't available at this time.

Officials must first determine if it's safe to resume travel on a 45-mile (72-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 5 near the OR state line.

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.

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.

As of Thursday, firefighters had been unable to achieve any containment of the blaze, Vaccaro said, but it is hoped that a forecast gradual rise in humidity levels will help slow the fire's growth over the next few days.

The fire was showing "critical" behaviour - burning fiercely and moving rapidly - but was still far away from any large towns, he added.

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

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

Amtrak delayed its Coast Starlight service from Sacramento to OR because of the fire.

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.

Most are either fully contained or close to containment.

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