A major wildfire north of Redding, California, forced numerous truck drivers to abandon their vehicles on I-5 yesterday afternoon.
The “Delta” wildfire was initially reported on September 5 just before 1 p.m. near the Vollmers exit on I-5 and within a few hours had spread to eight square miles.
The rapidly spreading fire left truck drivers stranded on I-5. In video captured at the scene, you can see numerous trucks stuck in traffic unable to move as the fire closes in while a passenger screams “We cannot stay right here!”
Approximately seventeen truck drivers were forced to abandon their trucks as the fire closed in on them, according to the Los Angeles Times. At least four of these trucks reportedly caught fire. CHP is asking anyone who abandoned their truck on I-5 to contact the Yreka CHP Communications Center at 530-841-6000.
The Mount Shasta division of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) says that “Delta Fire, USFS, CalFire, and other first responders rescued numerous commercial vehicle drivers who were stranded on southbound Interstate 5 as the fire rapidly approached; their bravery and quick thinking saved lives.”
Authorities say that the fire was started by humans, but it isn’t clear whether arson or accident was the cause.
Forty-five miles of I-5 shut down due to the fire. I-5 remains closed at Fawndale Rd. in Redding and at Mott Rd. in Dunsmuir. CHP says it is unclear when the interstate will reopen.
From CHP: “The California Highway Patrol Mount Shasta Area is requesting all motorists, to include the commercial industry, to remain clear of the fire zone; if you can, delay your trip or detour down the coast. While the fire is still a significant distance from Dunsmuir/Mt. Shasta, it is unsafe to park along the interstate to await the reopening of the freeway. In the unlikely event we will have to evacuate the region, we will need to expedite the flow of traffic along the interstate and SR-89.”