California takes financial wallop from unrelenting wildfires

California takes financial wallop from unrelenting wildfires

SHASTA-TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. (AP) — 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.

The disclosures came as a roaring blaze in a rural area near the Oregon state line closed 45 miles (72 kilometers) of heavily traveled Interstate 5, the main highway from Mexico to Canada.

Fierce orange flames forced panicked truckers to abandon big-rigs and brought screams from motorists as they watched the advancing fire in Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

A decision was expected Friday on when to reopen the highway.

The wildfire flared just weeks after a blaze in the Redding area killed eight people and burned about 1,100 homes…. more

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