Sept. 7 (UPI) -- A fast-growing wildfire has spread to 24,000 acres in Northern California and fire crews have not yet been able to get a handle on it, officials said Friday.
The Delta Fire is largely confined within Shasta-Trinity National Forest, near Redding. Officials fear it will expand eastward and merge with the Hirz fire, which is mostly contained but has burned more than 45,000 acres.
The fire started earlier this week and is zero percent contained.
The Shasta County Sheriff's Office said numerous structures are threatened by the fire and at least three homes have been damaged or destroyed.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued along parts of Interstate 5, and at least 300 people left their homes, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Chris Losi said.
Officials said Interstate 5, California's largest freeway, was closed for about 45 miles around Redding. Vehicles, including numerous trucks, were stalled on the highway on Thursday as flames burned trees and leapt over the road.
Some truckers unhitched their trailers and left them on the freeway to escape, while others caught rides with passing motorists.
The Forest Service said flames as tall as 300 feet were reported along the highway.