Delta Fire surpasses 60,000 acres after Thursday flare-up closed I-5 for 6 hours

Crews continue to make progress fighting the Delta Fire burning in Shasta County, with the blaze 28 percent contained Friday at 60,018 acres, according to a 7 a.m. Cal Fire incident update.

Fire activity flared up along the freeway Thursday evening, forcing another temporary closure of a stretch of Interstate 5 and multiple ramps. Traffic was reopened for all lanes in both directions at about 6 p.m., according to Caltrans.

At least 17 structures have been destroyed by the Delta Fire so far, according to the latest Cal Fire update. More than 3,200 personnel are assigned to the fire, including about 1,000 from the U.S. Forest Service, the agency said on Twitter.

Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted Wednesday for parts of Shasta County. Voluntary evacuation warnings remained in place for residents of Dunsmuir in Siskiyou County, and evacuations and road closures remained in place for some of Trinity County through Thursday. Up-to-date, detailed evacuation information can be found on the fire’s Inciweb page and the Facebook pages of those three counties’ sheriff’s offices.

Cal Fire’s latest incident report noted that sloped terrain is expected to contribute to the fire’s spread over the next few days. Gusty winds up to 18 mph were forecast in the area for late Friday morning.

Growth of the Delta Fire has slowed since last week. After the blaze exploded to more than 5,000 acres within a matter of hours of igniting on Sept. 5, further jumping to 22,000 acres by the following night, it spread just 7,000 acres between Tuesday and Friday mornings, with containment increasing from 5 to 28 percent in that span, Cal Fire reported.

The wildfire started about 10 miles north of Redding, near Lakehead, and closed a 45-mile stretch of I-5 between Redding and Mount Shasta for about five full days. Caltrans and California Highway Patrol officials reopened the stretch Monday, with restrictions on flammable vehicles and a 17-mile stretch reduced to one lane each way.

Those restrictions have since been lifted, according to Caltrans.

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