"It's fairly common to have California experience this level of fire activity in the fall, but it's not usually the entire state", she said.
The fast-moving fire forced truck drivers to abandon their rigs on the highway.
Truckers abandoned big-rigs and motorists screamed in fear as they came dangerously close to an explosive wildfire that shut down about 45 miles of a major California interstate near the OR border that authorities were desperately trying to reopen. Southbound Interstate 5 is closed 3.6 miles south of Mt. Shasta at Mott Road.
The 45-mile (72-kilometer) stretch of highway near the state line with OR has been closed since a fire Wednesday turned hills both sides of the roadway into walls of flame.
The northern and southern parts of the state have seen multiple wildfires in recent weeks, prompting thousands of residents in cities and rural areas to evacuate.
Thursday's blaze along I-5 has blackened 23 square miles, prompting mandatory evacuations.
A firefighter sprays the smoldering remains of a vehicle on Interstate 5 as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.
The blaze in California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest was burning out of control after chewing through 58 square miles (150 square kilometers) of timber and brush since Wednesday.More news: Syria tripartite summit 'step to peace': Iran
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.
Some flames reached 300 feet in height, according to a U.S. Forest Service incident report.
Truckers abandoned their vehicles as flames roared up hillsides.
Although the fire wasn't burning near any large towns, fire spokesman Brandon Vacarro said about 280 homes were considered threatened. "Whatever occurred here was probably pretty ugly for a while".
California has been hit with one massive blaze after another over the summer, including a blaze not far from the Delta Fire that last month burned about 1,100 homes and killed eight people.
The blaze also delayed Amtrak's Coast Starlight service between Sacramento and Oregon.
More than 1,500 people have been deployed to combat the fire, which was expected to push further north in the next 24 hours, authorities said.
Most are either fully contained or close to containment.