Dramatic moment wildfire explodes along a California freeway

The fire shut down miles of Interstate 5 and there was no immediate word on when it would reopen

The fire shut down miles of Interstate 5 and there was no immediate word on when it would reopen

A wildfire erupted in forest land in Northern California on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of dozens of homes and the closure of a stretch of an interstate highway near where a deadly blaze broke out in July, officials said.

Elsewhere in the state, a fire raging in the Sierra Nevada had grown to more than 7 square miles (18 square kilometers) after shutting down stretches of US 395, State Route 108 and the Pacific Crest Trail along the eastern spine of California.

Most of the New Zealand firefighters were fighting the Hirz fire and Carr fire, which has claimed 1,200 homes and 50 business, and the lives of 3 firefighters and 5 civilians.

The key interstate was closed from 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of Redding to an area just south of Mount Shasta.

Officials said the blaze was human-caused but didn't indicate whether it was arson or an accident.

Fierce orange flames forced panicked truckers to abandon big-rigs and brought screams from motorists as they watched the advancing fire in Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Officials say about 17 big-rigs were abandoned and at least four caught fire.

The wildfire flared just weeks after a blaze in the Redding area killed eight people and burned about 1,100 homes. As a result, Amtrak temporarily suspended its Coast Starlight passenger train service between Sacramento, California, and Klamath Falls, Oregon.

The Delta Fire comes just weeks after a devastating fire destroyed almost 1,100 homes and killed eight people in the same area.

Wildfires in California have scorched far more ground this year than in 2017, one of the most destructive in the state's history.

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The US Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Centre, campgrounds and other areas were evacuated.

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

A contingent of 34 fire personnel arrived back at Auckland International Airport early on Saturday morning; another 65 firefighters return from fighting the Canadian fires on Sunday morning.

California's firefighting agency is about to exceed its budget and needs $234 million more, Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott said in a letter to lawmakers Thursday.

In northern Shasta County, above Shasta Lake, the Hirz Fire has burned through 46,150 acres and reached 75 percent containment as of Saturday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Residents were issued an evacuation warning, urging them to be prepared to leave if the fire threatened.

Shasta-Trinity National Forest spokeswoman Carol Underhill said she wasn't sure how people apparently escaped the abandoned trucks, but she said crews had been going through and trying to help drivers.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said the fire seems to have slowed, but since it's burning about 15 miles from the city, residents of Dunsmuir should make sure their cars are ready and their belongings are in place.

A burned out truck sits along Interstate 5 during the Delta Fire near Delta, Calif.in the Shasta Trinity National Forest on September 6, 2018. It was only fully contained last week.

"The fire progressed primarily to the northwest, but it is also extremely active along the eastern edge between Interstate 5 and the Hirz Fire", according to the US Forest Service.

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