One of the busiest freeways of America has been closed as firefighters in California battle a huge blaze just south of the Oregon border. It has stranded hundreds of truckers trying to navigate the lone interstate highway stretching from Mexico to Canada.
At approximately 24,000 acres, the so called Delta fire near Redding almost tripled in it’s size on Thursday. However, it slowed overnight as weather conditions improved. Officials had doubled manpower and helicopters available to fight the blaze.
A weary firefighter said that it has been a long summer and the fight has also been very long. He added that they have been everywhere from the Carr to the Wellback to the Mendocino Complex, and now they are here.
The fire is contained 0% and is currently the No. 1 national priority in the lower 48 states. Thought the area is not densely populated, the fire forced the closure of California’s I-5. It runs from Tijuana to Vancouver, carrying millions of tons of cargo each day under NAFTA and from China via the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
Michael Tunget, the truck driver said that the north state has had so many fires and because of that they have had a lot more closures and detours.
The fire which was human caused, exploded around noon Wednesday. It immediately overtook the highway. Some truckers were forced to abandon their rigs, as traffic crawled or stopped and they were unable to turn around. A few 18 wheelers were burned to the ground.
Police have currently closed a 45-mile stretch near the Oregon border. This has grounded many trucks. However, others chose a 140-mile detour along a winding road.
Another trucker Jerry Foster said that there are curves, hills and trees and it is very dark. His wife had told him that he will get plenty of company.
This is not just a bush fire. The fire is burning in steep terrain at 8,000 feet elevation in a thick timber forest that has not burned for decades. The U. S. Forest Service and Calfire had to double up the manpower to 1,200 firefighters and do not have any idea when they will gain control. However, officials are optimistic as the weather is due to improve this weekend.
Officials expect that as the weather would improve, they will gain more control over the fire and they would have a clear idea of when they would be able to finish the job at hand.