The Delta Fire, which has been burning for more than a week in Shasta County, grew by 3,000 acres Wednesday and has reached 57,233 acres (89 square miles) through Wednesday night, according to Cal Fire and U.S. Forest Service units.
The quick-spreading wildfire that erupted Aug. 5 earlier 10 miles north of Redding is now 17 percent contained, Shasta-Trinity National Forest said in a brief update about 7 a.m. Wednesday. The nearby Hirz Fire, which has been burning since Aug. 9, is now fully contained, officials said late Wednesday.
Approximately 2,820 personnel remain assigned to the Delta Fire, a human-caused timber and brush fire burning near Lakehead, according to the blaze’s Inciweb page.
A National Weather Service red flag warning remained in place through 8 a.m. Wednesday, and the morning Inciweb update predicts increased fire behavior throughout the day due to windy conditions. Some areas will experience “much greater spread as fire backs and flanks,” the update said.
Interstate 5 between Redding and Mount Shasta remains open, reduced to one lane each way for about 17 miles, the latest Cal Fire incident report notes. Late Wednesday, CHP and Caltrans officials expanded traffic on the major north-south artery, lifting all truck restrictions and reopening rest areas. Several ramps, however, remain closed.
The freeway had been closed for more than five days along a 45-mile stretch, until Caltrans and California Highway Patrol officials announced it was reopened with restrictions as of Monday morning. Flammable vehicles, such as gas tankers or trucks hauling lumber, are still not allowed on that stretch, and must divert to Highway 299.
Dramatic images and reports by the CHP officers indicate that about 17 big rigs were abandoned by truckers as flames and smoke approached I-5, with at least four of those trucks being consumed by flames.
Evacuation orders remain in place throughout parts of Shasta and Trinity counties, though some were lifted for residents late Wednesday. Updated information on evacuation orders can be found via the Shasta County, Siskiyou County and Trinity County sheriff’s offices’ Facebook pages.
An evacuation shelter remains set up at the National Guard Armory in Mount Shasta. A shelter in Redding on Mercy Oaks Drive was on standby as of Wednesday morning, ready to reopen if needed.
Officials say the blaze is expected to be fully contained by Saturday, Sept. 22.