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Fast-Moving Delta Fire Surrounds Interstate 5 North of Redding, Prompting Motorists to Flee

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Another raging and rapidly growing wildfire this week in Northern California has prompted evacuations, road closings and a massive firefighting response, the U.S. Forest Service said.

The Delta Fire started Wednesday and had expanded to nearly 25,000 acres by Friday evening. Energized by dry, warm conditions and gusty winds, the blaze rapidly moved across grass, timberland and brush.

It is in the same parched region of the state where the Carr Fire killed eight people this summer, destroying more than 1,000 homes and consuming 229,651 acres, according to California fire officials.

Portions of Interstate 5 north of Redding have been shut through Sunday morning because of the fire. The highway extends from the Mexican border with California to the Canadian border with Washington state.

“The Delta Fire continues to burn along both sides of the freeway with increased activity during the nighttime hours,” the California Highway Patrol said.

More than 1,500 firefighters have been deployed to fight the Delta wildfire. As of early Friday, there was no containment.

The Forest Service said the fire began two miles north of Lakehead in Shasta County and classified the cause as “human.” It is not clear whether the fire was deliberately set or accidentally started.

The sheriff’s offices in Shasta and Trinity counties have issued evacuation orders, and the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office warned some residents to evacuate. All those counties are near southern Oregon.

Structures are threatened, and there are reports of abandoned and burning rigs.

“Fire activity will increase as a dry cold front approaches from the northwest with increased southwest winds,” the Forest Service said in an incident report.

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