An explosive wildfire closed down dozens of miles of a major California freeway only weeks after a nearby blaze left neighborhoods in ruins and killed eight people. The Delta Fire erupted Wednesday afternoon and within hours had devoured nearly 8 square miles of timber and brush on both sides of Interstate 5 north of Redding near the Oregon state line. The blaze was human-caused, fire officials said, but they didn't indicate whether it was arson or accident. Truckers abandoned their vehicles as flames roared up hillsides. In a video, a passenger in a vehicle screams: "Oh my God, I want to go!" as trees burst into flames and sheets of fire roiled on the side of the roadway.
About 17 big-rigs were abandoned and at least four caught fire, Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Foster of the California Highway Patrol's Mount Shasta office tells the Los Angeles Times. US Forest Service workers helped the driver of one flaming truck to safety and other truckers, firefighters, and others aided additional drivers, he said. "There's vehicles scattered all over," fire official Brandon Vaccaro tells the Redding Record Searchlight. "Whatever occurred here was probably pretty ugly for a while." About 45 miles of the I-5 remained closed in both directions through Wednesday night and there was no immediate word on when the lanes would reopen. A nearby fire in the Redding area burned some 1,100 homes and killed eight people last month. It was only fully contained last week.
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