California's firefighting agency says it's running out of money

Cal Fire funding concerns

About a dozen large wildfires are burning in California. The state's firefighting agency, Cal Fire, says it is running out of money in the middle of a busy fire season. Among the immediate challenges is the Delta Fire in northern California.

Drivers on I-5 in northern California got a big scare this week as towering flames raged on both sides of the highway.

The Delta Fire has scorched nearly 58 square miles since it began near Lake Shasta on Wednesday.

As the fire burned through the dense forest, flames shot up to 300 feet into the air, spreading so fast that some truckers were forced to abandon their rigs and flee on foot. 

Major wildfire leaps over, shuts Calif. freeway

Now, a 45-mile stretch of the interstate is closed in both directions, forcing drivers to take a 100-mile detour on winding mountain roads, jammed with traffic.

"I've been delayed a day and a half already," said one trucker. 

It's a big problem for truckers transporting perishables, like bananas.

"By the time I get there, bananas will be too ripe and the company will be upset," said another trucker. 

So far the state has been hit with 5,491 wildfires this year, burning 1.2 million acres, according to Cal Fire. The state's fire agency says it's almost out money, having spent $432 million to fight fires through August and the "official" fire season has only just begun.

Cal Fire says it has just $11 million left in its annual budget, but the agency will likely need another $234 million to fight fires through  the rest of the year.