Update – 7 AM:
The Delta Fire blazed into the night on either side of Interstate 5 last night, growing in the windy conditions to 15,294 acres.
Overnight mapping of the fire show an incredible rate of growth as the fire that began around 1 PM Wednesday is already sizable when compared to the nearby Hirz Fire, which currently sits at 46,142 acres and has been burning for nearly a month.
Reports of 300-foot flames in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest show a dire situation for firefighters already battling the nearby Hirz and Kerlin Fires. Interstate 5 remains closed as reports of vehicles, both burnt and intact, are scattered all over the road. No timetable for reopening has been released.
— Brian Sozzi (@BrianSozzi) September 6, 2018
More updates below.
Update – 10 PM:
A Public Information Officer from the U.S. Forest Service says the Delta Fire has now grown to an astounding 5,000 acres with zero percent containment, according to Action News Now. An evacuation warning has been issued for the community of Dunsmuir by the Sheriff’s Office.
The fire continues to burn at an alarming rate north up Interstate 5 into Siskiyou County. Starting near Lakehead around 1 pm this afternoon, the fire has burned everything in its way, including big rigs on the freeway.
The U.S. Forest Service says the fire is human-caused and speculation across the internet has claimed it started with a burning truck stacked with hay.
Alarming video was released of the start of the fire from a passenger driving down I-5:
A close encounter with a wildfire forced motorists near Redding, California to abandon their vehicles as flames burned dangerously close to Interstate 5 on Wednesday.
— ABC News (@ABC) September 6, 2018
Meanwhile, the fire has sent a plume of smoke across the area, likely causing poor air quality for the coming days:
Find more updates on the Delta Fire below.
Update – 6:00 PM:
Just 5 hours after it started, the chaotic Delta Fire burning along Interstate 5 between Lakehead and Dunsmuir has ballooned to 2,000 acres and created a full shutdown of I-5 in that area. With the fire burning so badly on either side of the freeway, no one can get through the area, including emergency vehicles.
— Jaclyn Cosgrove (@jaclyncosgrove) September 6, 2018
Everyone living north of Vollmers/Delta area to the Siskiyou County line on both sides of I-5 have been placed under mandatory evacuation. Communities of Dunsmuir and Castella are not under evacuation at this point, however, people should be ready to evacuate at a moments notice.
The fire erupted so quick that truck drivers were forced to abandon their big rigs on the road. Some of those rigs burned:
Update – 4:30 PM –
In just 3 hours since it began, the Delta Fire has burned through 500 to 1,000 acres of land along Interstate 5 near Lakehead.
A CHP website described a chaotic scene at the start of the fire. One post described a hay truck on fire. A man falling off of a semi-truck to put out the flames. four to five big rigs catching fire. A culvert under I-5 ablaze.
A dispatcher said emergency crews should use northbound Interstate 5 because the southbound lanes were “littered with abandoned trucks.” There are also reports that emergency crews are having a difficult time reaching houses to enforce evacuations.
An evacuation center is opening at the Mount Shasta Community Building, 629 Alder Street.
See below for more updates.
Update – 3:30 PM-
Another fire has started near Shasta Lake, causing closures to Interstate 5 and forcing evacuations in Lakehead. The fire that broke out at 1:30 pm on September 5 near the Delta Road offramp has quickly grown to 50 acres and forced officials to close everything around I-5. Officials are calling it the Delta Fire.
The current I-5 closures are northbound at Fawndale Rd. and southbound at Mott Rd. Evacuations have been issued for everything north of Vollmers/Delta to the Siskiyou County line. Highway 89 from southbound Interstate 5 is also closed. People travelling north of Redding on I-5 are told to stay away from the area.
As of 3:30 pm, evacuations are being called for all streets that connect with northbound I-5 from its intersection with Lamoine to the Siskiyou County border.
People travelling on I-5 during the beginning of the fire were able to catch some stunning images: