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Firefighters battle to gain on blazes across Northern California

SF Gate logo SF Gate 9/10/2018 By Michael Cabanatuan
a person that is on fire: A firefighter passes flames from a backfire while battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc A firefighter passes flames from a backfire while battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. a group of fireworks in the sky: Embers fly above a firefighter as he works to control a backfire as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. The blaze had tripled in size overnight. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Embers fly above a firefighter as he works to control a backfire as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. The blaze had tripled in size overnight.

Interstate 5, the state’s main north-south transportation artery, will remain closed indefinitely by the raging Delta Fire, authorities said Sunday.

a tree with a sunset in the background: Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

The freeway has been shut down since Wednesday afternoon in both directions for a roughly 45-mile stretch from 10 miles north of Redding to 3.6 miles south of Mount Shasta.

Brandon Vaccaro, a U.S. Forest Service fire spokesman, said the blaze is still burning on both sides of the freeway but the flames are no longer close to the road.

a sunset over a fire: Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. The wildfire that erupted Wednesday has now burned more than 34 square miles (89 square kilometers) of timber and brush and prompted evacuation orders for rural homes in and around Shasta-Trinity National Forest below the Oregon state line. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. The wildfire that erupted Wednesday has now burned more than 34 square miles (89 square kilometers) of timber and brush and prompted evacuation orders for rural homes in and around Shasta-Trinity National Forest below the Oregon state line. fireworks in the sky: Flames from a backfire burn around a fire truck battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Flames from a backfire burn around a fire truck battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

“But there is some concern it could wrap back around the freeway,” he said. “That could force us to have to close the freeway again, which would be bad, or trap motorists on the freeway, which would be worse.”

a group of people standing in front of a sunset: Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. California is taking a financial wallop from unrelenting wildfires that have drained its firefighting budget and prompted nearly $1 billion in property claims even before the start of the dangerous fall fire season, officials said Thursday. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Firefighters monitor a backfire while battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. California is taking a financial wallop from unrelenting wildfires that have drained its firefighting budget and prompted nearly $1 billion in property claims even before the start of the dangerous fall fire season, officials said Thursday.

Caltrans and California Highway Patrol officials, working with fire authorities, are regularly evaluating the freeway’s status.

a person with a sunset in the background: Embers fly above a firefighter as he hustles to control a backfire as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Embers fly above a firefighter as he hustles to control a backfire as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

With I-5 closed, drivers — many of them truckers — are forced to take a lengthy detour on highways 229 and 89 that adds two hours or more to the trip.

a stop sign lit up at night: 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) © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc 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)

The Delta Fire is burning mostly to the northwest and north, Vaccaro said. The fire, which has scorched 40,903 acres and was just 5 percent contained Sunday night, burned intensely throughout Sunday with high temperatures and dry vegetation.

a view of a sunset: Flames from a backfire burn a hillside as fire fighters battle the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

Flames from a backfire burn a hillside as fire fighters battle the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.
© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

The fire’s eastern flank has connected with already burned areas of the Hirz Fire, where containment lines are restraining both fires. Fire officials said those shared lines account for the 5 percent containment.

In Napa County, the Snell Fire, which ignited Saturday near Lake Berryessa, grew to almost 2,000 acres in 24 hours. It grew by 500 acres Sunday to 2,400 acres, forcing evacuations of Berryessa Estates, Snell Valley Road and the west side of Berryessa-Knoxville Road from the Pope Creek Bridge to the Napa-Lake county line.

a view of a city at sunset: ***BESTPIX*** Embers smoulder along a hillside after the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, burned though the area near Clearlake Oaks, California, on August 5, 2018. - Several thousand people have been evacuated as various fires swept across the state, although some have been given permission in recent days to return to their homes. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images) © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc ***BESTPIX*** Embers smoulder along a hillside after the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, burned though the area near Clearlake Oaks, California, on August 5, 2018. - Several thousand people have been evacuated as various fires swept across the state, although some have been given permission in recent days to return to their homes. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)

An evacuation center was set up at Pope Valley Farm Center at 5800 Pope Valley Road in Pope Valley.

a sunset over a fire: Firefighters light backfire while battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. California is taking a financial wallop from unrelenting wildfires that have drained its firefighting budget and prompted nearly $1 billion in property claims even before the start of the dangerous fall fire season, officials said Thursday.

Firefighters light backfire while battling the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. California is taking a financial wallop from unrelenting wildfires that have drained its firefighting budget and prompted nearly $1 billion in property claims even before the start of the dangerous fall fire season, officials said Thursday.
© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

According to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials, about 180 homes are threatened. The fire was burning in grassy oak woodlands at a moderate rate of spread in remote areas that make access more difficult. It was being fought by 1,241 firefighters on 31 crews. It was just 20 percent contained Sunday evening. Its cause is under investigation.

a road with a sunset in the background: Interstate 5, which has been closed due to the Delta Fire, is seen completely empty in Lamoine, California, in the Shasta Trinity National Forest, on September 6, 2018. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX*** © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Interstate 5, which has been closed due to the Delta Fire, is seen completely empty in Lamoine, California, in the Shasta Trinity National Forest, on September 6, 2018. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX*** an orange sunset in the background: TOPSHOT - Light from a train is seen as it rounds a bend near the Sacramento River as flames from the Delta Fire fill a valley in Delta, California on September 6, 2018. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX *** © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc TOPSHOT - Light from a train is seen as it rounds a bend near the Sacramento River as flames from the Delta Fire fill a valley in Delta, California on September 6, 2018. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

Meanwhile, firefighters were extending containment lines around the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex burning in Lake, Mendocino and Colusa counties. The fire northeast of Ukiah was 98 percent contained and could reach full containment Monday.

a person with a sunset in the background: A firefighter battles the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. California is taking a financial wallop from unrelenting wildfires that have drained its firefighting budget and prompted nearly $1 billion in property claims even before the start of the dangerous fall fire season, officials said Thursday. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc A firefighter battles the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. California is taking a financial wallop from unrelenting wildfires that have drained its firefighting budget and prompted nearly $1 billion in property claims even before the start of the dangerous fall fire season, officials said Thursday. a man wearing a yellow fire hydrant in the middle of a field: In this Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 photo, fire fighters from Yocha Dehe Fire Department work together to put out a grass fire along I-5 at Earl Sholes Memorial Bridge 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 on Saturday are scrambling to prevent it from reaching mountain communities to the north. (Hung T. Vu/The Record Searchlight via AP) © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc In this Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 photo, fire fighters from Yocha Dehe Fire Department work together to put out a grass fire along I-5 at Earl Sholes Memorial Bridge 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 on Saturday are scrambling to prevent it from reaching mountain communities to the north. (Hung T. Vu/The Record Searchlight via AP)

The conflagration began July 27 and has burned through 459,123 acres. It is the state’s largest wildfire, far exceeding the previous record-holder, the Thomas Fire, which consumed 281,893 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in December.

fireworks in the sky: Embers fly above a firefighter as he hustles to control a backfire as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Embers fly above a firefighter as he hustles to control a backfire as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018.

Off of Interstate 80 near Emigrant Gap in Placer County, the North Fire was 77 percent contained Sunday after burning 1,120 acres and closing several campgrounds last week. Some of those campgrounds were reopening Sunday. The U.S. Forest Service had reported the acreage at nearly 1,300, but downsized the estimate after getting better mapping.

a car on a dirt field: A scorched VW Beetle rests in a clearing after the Delta Fire burned through the Lamoine community in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc A scorched VW Beetle rests in a clearing after the Delta Fire burned through the Lamoine community in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. a lit up city at night: In this photo provided by the California Department of Transportation, lanes are closed on northbound Interstate 5 with the Delta Fire burning in the background Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, near Lakehead, Calif. A stretch of a major highway near the California-Oregon border will remain closed through the weekend as crews try to tame a roaring wildfire burning on both sides of the north-south route, authorities announced Friday. The blaze that shut down Interstate 5 on Wednesday was still burning out of control, said Denise Yergenson, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation. (Joe Spini/California Department of Transportation via AP) © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc In this photo provided by the California Department of Transportation, lanes are closed on northbound Interstate 5 with the Delta Fire burning in the background Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, near Lakehead, Calif. A stretch of a major highway near the California-Oregon border will remain closed through the weekend as crews try to tame a roaring wildfire burning on both sides of the north-south route, authorities announced Friday. The blaze that shut down Interstate 5 on Wednesday was still burning out of control, said Denise Yergenson, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation. (Joe Spini/California Department of Transportation via AP)

The Hirz Fire, northeast of Redding, was 95 percent contained Sunday after charring 46,150 acres.

The 573-acre Tulloch Fire at Highway 108 and Tulloch Road, about 50 miles west of Yosemite National Park, was 100 percent contained on Sunday.

Chronicle staff writer Roland Li contributed to this report.

Michael Cabanatuan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ctuan

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