Interstate 5 reopens after 6-day closure

SHASTA-TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. (AP) – A major interstate that connects California and Oregon reopened Monday after a wildfire roared along the roadway and forced a six-day closure while burned trees and charred vehicles were removed.

One lane in each direction of Interstate 5 near the Oregon border was reopened with restrictions and warnings of slow traffic, California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Denise Yergenson said.

With the fire still burning, vehicles carrying flammable materials, including hay, wood chips, lumber and logs, will not be allowed along the 17-mile stretch in Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

“Motorists should anticipate long lines of vehicles and long delays,” Yergenson said.

The stretch of highway that traverses the West Coast from Mexico to Canada and serves as a main artery for commerce had been closed since Wednesday, when a wall of flames descended from hills along the highway and forced motorists to abandon trucks and cars.

Officials have determined that the freeway is safe for travel, but potential closures could be ordered at any time. Access ramps along the stretch remained closed.

The blaze has chewed through 64 square miles (165 square kilometers) of timber and brush. It was 5 percent contained Monday. The blaze was human-caused, officials said, without indicating whether it was arson or an accident.

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