California Fire Threatens Freeway

U.S. Forest Department fire trucks drive past flames as fast-moving Los Padres National Forest wildfire blows up along Templin Highway adjacent to Interstate 5 Tuesday Sept. 12, 2006, near Castaic, Calif.
A fire raging on hillsides in southern California threatened Wednesday to leap across the main commuter artery of Interstate 5, keeping firefighters hoses aimed at hotspots near the freeway and hoping the wind would die down.

The Day Fire, near Castaic, forced authorities to close part of I5 until Wednesday morning, when the fire that has already charred almost 25,000 acres since it started on Labor Day renewed its threat against the busy highway.

It's burning in the Los Padres National Forest and the adjoining Angeles National Forest and was 25 percent contained Wednesday morning.

Reporting from along I-5 Wednesday morning, KNX News Radio reporter Diane Thompson said most residents of the Paradise Ranch Mobile Home Park, which sits on the east side of the freeway, opposite the Day Fire's flames, don't seem too worried.

"These fires are up here every year, so unless I see the fire in the park, I'm not really that concerned right now," one seemingly unbothered resident told Thompson.

Another park inhabitant stressed preparedness but exhibited no signs of imminent panic. "Everybody's got things ready to go, as long as you know where your kids are, that's what's important," she told Thompson.

In the northern part of the state, firefighters were beginning to make some progress in battling a fire that's been burned for more than a week in Placer County.

Authorities say they now have the Ralston Fire 53 percent contained.

The fire had consumed more than 7,300 acres near Foresthill — a community about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento — since it began last Tuesday.

Smoke from the fire prompted health officials to remind residents of Sacramento's eastern suburbs to stay indoors as much as possible.

Smoke also spread to San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

Authorities said the cost of fighting the fire had reached more than $7 million.

  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.