An explosive wildfire that closed down dozens of miles of a major California freeway nearly tripled in size overnight, just weeks after a nearby blaze that left neighborhoods in ruins and killed eight people, officials said Thursday. The fire that erupted Wednesday afternoon and devoured timber and brush on both sides of Interstate 5 near the Oregon state line had expanded to 23 square miles Thursday (60)

square kilometers, prompting mandatory evacuations, the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement. That’s up from 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) burning on Wednesday. Authorities did not say in the statement how many people were affected by the evacuation order, but the fire is in a rural area with scattered homes. The blaze was human-caused, fire officials said, but they didn’t indicate whether it was arson or accident. READ MORE