California's Delta Fire: 15,294+ acres scorched in 24 hours, 'human involvement' blamed

The area burning from the massive Delta fire in Shasta County, California tripled in size overnight, scorching 15,294 acres and counting as of Thursday afternoon, per California fire authorities. Human involvement is blamed.

This wildfire is a monster, and it's beginning to look like California is just going to be on fire… permanently?

From the Los Angeles Times:

On Thursday, less than 24 hours after the blaze broke out in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the Delta fire had chewed through 15,294 acres of timber and dense brush. Three homes had been damaged and 150 others were under threat. Roughly 300 people had evacuated along I-5 from Lamoine to the Shasta-Siskiyou county line, according to Capt. Brandon Vaccaro, a fire spokesman.

The wildfire was initially reported as three fires Wednesday afternoon north of Lakehead — a community of about 500 people near the Vollmers exit on I-5 — but it merged into one fire and spread rapidly. At one point, the blaze burned up to one mile per hour.

Vaccaro said there was "human involvement" in igniting the blaze, but it is not clear whether it was an accident or arson.

The fire's quick growth was fueled partly by warm weather and winds, and officials are not anticipating much relief Thursday. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid-90s in areas where the fire is burning, and winds with gusts in the 15- to 20-mph range are expected through the afternoon.

I-15 is closed in some areas.

CALTRANS said Thursday afternoon they have "no plans" to reopen I5 north of Redding tonight, and they will "re-evaluate" the closure tomorrow morning.

The state transportation agency is waring motorists that alternate routes are getting clogged already, too.

"The worst may be yet to come," Commissioner David Jones warned at a San Francisco news conference, noting that California wildfires are typically more destructive after Sept. 1.