Jun 24, 2016

'Extremely dangerous, extremely volatile' fire in Kern County grows to over 19,000 acres

Weldon, CA
USA
by
Ruben Vives, Joseph Serna and Alexia Fernandez
,
Los Angeles Times
Image: USDA, @latimesgraphics
Image: USDA, @latimesgraphics

“Firefighters from all agencies … have been engaged in a firefight of epic proportions trying to save every structure possible,” said Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall at a news conference Friday morning. “In a situation like this, there’s not enough fire trucks and firefighters to put in front of every structure … they’re working whole neighborhoods.”

Marshall estimated that at least 100 structures — including 80 homes — have been destroyed by the fire, but he said an accurate count wouldn’t be available until later.

The wind-pushed fire was uncontained and chewing through dead grass and big trees parched by years of drought.

...

Conditions were the worst they could have been for a fire, said Geri Jackson, a spokeswoman with Sequoia National Forest, one of several agencies responding to the blaze. Temperatures were in the high 90s, humidity was in the single digits and low teens, and the area was just coming off a weeklong wind advisory.

“The wind, the heat and the low humidity — all that does is just drive a fire,” Jackson said. “When the fire initially started, it took off quickly.”