California Highway Reopens after Wildfire Closure

Wildfire closed the highway for six days

 

In this Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 photo, wildfires continued to burn on the ridge line east of I-5 just south of Gibson Rd., exit near Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif. A roaring wildfire that has shut down a stretch of a major interstate in a rural area near the California-Oregon border has nearly doubled in size. The blaze in California’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest is burning out of control and crews Saturday, Sept. 8, are scrambling to prevent it from reaching mountain communities to the north. (Hung T. Vu/The Record Searchlight via AP)

 

SHASTA-TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. (AP) — A major interstate near the California-Oregon border reopened Monday, six days after a wildfire roaring along the roadway forced its closure, authorities said.

California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Denise Yergenson said one lane in each direction of Interstate 5 reopened Monday at 8:30 a.m. but with some restrictions.

Yergenson said vehicles carrying flammable materials, including hay, wood chips, lumber and logs, will not be allowed along a 17-mile (27-kilometer) stretch between Antlers Bridge in Lakehead and Flume Creek Road south of the city of Dunsmuir, California.

Officials have determined that the freeway is safe for travel but potential closures could be ordered at any time because the fire is still burning, she said.

The highway that traverses the West Coast from Mexico to Canada and serves as a main artery for commerce had been closed since Wednesday, when the wildfire forced motorists to abandon trucks and cars as wall of flames descended from hills along the highway.

The closure forced trucks and other traffic on smaller roads that added 100 miles (160 kilometers) or up to eight hours to their journeys.

The blaze had chewed 64-square-miles (165-square-kilometers) of timber and brush in and around Shasta-Trinity National Forest. It was 5 percent contained as of Monday.

The fire was just the latest of several enormous fires that have ravaged the area in Northern California this summer. In fact, the fire was moving into an area already burned by a larger blaze burning in oak woodlands. That blaze was 95 percent contained.

The wildfire is also was close to a massive blaze that killed eight people and burned about 1,100 homes before it was contained last month.

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