California fire season may extend into autumn, officials say


A stretch of a major highway near the California-Oregon border will remain closed through the weekend as crews try to tame a roaring wildfire burning on both sides of the north-south route, authorities announced today.

Flames rising from a truck that has melted to the ground while another semi smokes in the background after the Delta Fire leapt into traffic.

More than 1.2 million acres of California land were charred and over 1,200 homes destroyed in this year's prolonged fire season that has seen some of the largest wildfires in that state's history.

Officials on Sunday will reevaluate whether to reopen the highway that traverses the entire West Coast from Mexico to Canada.

Nearby, the Hirz Fire is burning parts of the two million acre Shasta-Trinity National Forest, which is also close to the town of Redding.

Another fire was raging out of control north of San Francisco today, triggering evacuations and closing a major north-south road. But a second, massive blaze continues to burn in the Mendocino National Forest.

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Google Maps continues to update the California fire map with information about fires to which the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is responding, along with information about evacuations and road closures. Some flames reached 300 feet in height, according to a U.S. Forest Service incident report. That's up from than 34 square miles (89 square kilometers) as of Thursday night. That blaze, burning in oak woodlands, was 95 percent contained.

Although containment of the blaze, a measure of the progress made in carving buffers around the fire's perimeter to halt its spread, remained at zero crews have made gains clearing away tinder-dry brush beyond its leading edge. Some are 70 feet (21 meters) tall.

The fire has chewed through 58 square miles (150 square kilometers) of timber since Wednesday.

A new wildfire was raging in northern California on Friday, having already devastated nearly 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) in just two days and continuing to spread.

UPDATE: Interstate 5 north of Redding remains CLOSED. There is an evacuation advisory only from the East Fork/East Side Road junction west to Highway 3 northward to Ramshorn Road.