The Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California, Sept. 5, 2018. Fire officials said the wildfire roaring through timber and brush in Northern California tripled in size overnight, prompting mandatory evacuations.
The Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California, Sept. 5, 2018. Fire officials said the wildfire roaring through timber and brush in Northern California tripled in size overnight, prompting mandatory evacuations.

A wildfire on Thursday forced the closure of one of the busiest highways in California, prompting evacuations and destroying abandoned trucks less than 24 hours after it started.

The Delta Fire broke out Wednesday afternoon about 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of Redding. Since then, it has grown to more than 6,000 hectares (14,800 acres), nearly tripling in size overnight, burning timber and brush in Northern California's picturesque Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

The fire is burning near the area where, just weeks before, the Carr Fire killed eight people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.

Fire officials said the Delta Fire was caused by humans, but they didn't clarify whether it was arson or had been set accidentally.

About 72 kilometers (45 miles) of Interstate 5 was closed, a critical north-south freeway that runs the entire length of the western United States.

Truckers were forced to abandon their rigs as fire scorched both sides of the highway. Officials said about 17 big rigs had been abandoned, and at least four had caught fire.

The blaze also delayed Amtrak's train service from Sacramento to Oregon.

A U.S. Forest Service incident report said high temperatures and midday gusts of up to 32 kilometers per hour (20 mph) were expected Thursday. Smoke from the fire was expected to spread through Northern California.