The Latest: California’s biggest-ever fire nearly contained
SHASTA-TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in California (all times local):
Officials say the largest wildfire on record in California is expected to be fully contained by Sunday, more than six weeks after it started.
The U.S. Forest Service said Friday the deadly blaze burning in the Mendocino area since July 27 killed a Utah firefighter, destroyed 157 homes and charred 717 square miles (1860 square kilometers).
The Mendocino Complex — two blazes that burned side by side north of San Francisco — also prompted the evacuation of thousands of people.
One of the two blazes was fully contained in August and residents have been allowed to return home. But a second, massive blaze continues to burn in the Mendocino National Forest.
A blaze that shut down a major highway and is burning out of control through timber and brush in Northern California grew overnight.
The U.S. Forest Service says in a statement Friday the blaze is now 38 square miles (98 square kilometers). That’s up from than 34 square miles (89 square kilometers) as of Thursday night.
The Forest Service did not release containment figures but California Highway Patrol Officer Jason Morton says the blaze is zero percent contained and still burning along Interstate 5.
The highway that runs between the Mexican and Canadian borders is closed for a third day and officials plan to meet at 10 a.m. to assess whether it can reopen.
The highway connects California, Oregon and Washington states and is the main thoroughfare for commercial trucks.
A major West Coast highway remains closed for a third day as a wildfire continues to rage on forest flanking it in Northern California.
The California Highway Patrol says reopening Interstate 5 is a priority but that highway patrol, fire and transportation officials will meet Friday to assess when to reopen the interstate running from the U.S.-Mexico border to the U.S.-Canada border.
Officials say the condition of the pavement is a concern along with burned trees along the highway that might be in danger of falling down. Some are 70 feet (21 meters) tall.
The 45-mile (72-kilometer) stretch of highway near the state line with Oregon has been closed since a fire Wednesday turned hills both sides of the roadway into walls of flame.
Authorities are still mulling whether to reopen a major highway that’s been closed for two days by a raging Northern California wildfire.
Officials must first determine if it’s safe to resume travel on a 45-mile (72-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 5 near the Oregon state line. The highway was closed on Wednesday as fire erupted on both sides.
Fire spokesman Brandon Vacarro says work crews have cleared away burned and abandoned trucks that littered the road after the swift-moving blaze erupted but they must also determine whether charred 70-foot (21-meter) trees along the road are in danger of falling.
The so called Delta Fire has burned more than 34 square miles (88 square kilometers) and prompted evacuation orders for scattered homes and buildings in three counties in and around Shasta-Trinity National Forest.