Local News

Monday, Aug 19 2013 06:39 AM

Crews continue efforts against lightning-caused wildfires

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A helicopter makes a drop on a fire west of Isabella Monday.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Helicopters work a fire west of Isabella Monday. Helicopters and air tankers were being used Monday to gain control of the fire.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A helicopter makes a drop on the Rio fire approximatly 1 mile east of Isabella Monday. The fire started about noon Monday.

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    By Henry A. Barrios/ The Californian

    Fire can be seen in the mountains west of Lake Isabella on Monday.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Rain falls on the Shirley fire east of Shirley Meadows Monday afternoon. A thunder storm came through the area bringing lightning and rain that possibly helped firefighting efforts.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    A thunderstorm Monday afternoon near Rancheria Road and Highway 155 possibly helps firefighting efforts on the Shirley Fire nearby.

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  7. 7 of 16

    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Clouds rise high over the mountains in this view looking east from downtown Bakersfield on Monday.

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Clouds hang in the distance as a vehicle travels south on Alfred Harrell Highway near Fairfax Road on Monday afternoon.

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  9. 9 of 16

    By Photo by Tysun McMullan

    Fire retardant is dropped on one of the fires Monday.

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  10. 10 of 16

    By Photo by Tysun McMullan

    Fire retardant is dropped on one of the fires on Monday.

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  11. 11 of 16

    By Photo by Tysun McMullen

    A helicopter drops fire retardant on one of the forest fires.

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  12. 12 of 16

    By Jennifer Whalen/ Special to The Californian

    Reader Jennifer Whalen captured the lightning in Bakersfield Sunday night.

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    By Jennifer Whalen/ Special to The Californian

    Reader Jennifer Whalen captured the lightning in Bakersfield Sunday night.

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  14. 14 of 16

    By Heather Kay Evans/ Special to The Californian

    Sunday night's sky is seen from the area of Ming Avenue and Valhalla Drive in Bakersfield.

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    By Heather Kay Evans/ Special to The Californian

    Sunday night's sky is seen from the area of Ming Avenue and Valhalla Drive in Bakersfield.

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  16. 16 of 16

    By Sean Rodriguez/ Special to The Californian

    Lightning makes its way across the sky in Bakersfield Sunday night.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

More than 200 Kern County Fire Department personnel continued battling the largest of 12 lightning-caused fires burning in the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument Monday night, with their efforts aided by a steady rain.

By Monday night the so-called Shirley Fire still covered more than 400 acres and was threatening Alta Sierra.

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U.S. Forest Service officials earlier Monday had advised residents to be prepared to evacuate, but there had been no forced evacuations of any homes as of Monday night, a spokeswoman said.

Nevertheless, a structure protection strike team of five engines was standing by through Monday night near Alta Sierra and the Shirley Meadows Ski area.

The fire Monday forced the closure of Alder Creek Road and Campground, Rancheria Road between Highways 178 and 155, Evans Flat Campground and Oak Flat Lookout.

A mudslide caused by heavy rains closed Highway 178 in both directions Monday afternoon. The rains were part of a flash flood warning issued by the National Weather Service for north central Kern County through Monday evening.

The Tenant Fire near Tenant Springs in the Kern River Ranger District had grown to 351 acres by Monday night and was burning through grass and brush toward Presidio Canyon, said the USFS spokeswoman, Cindy Thill.

Three smaller fires of less than 1 acre that started early Monday in the same district were extinguished.

Thill said the Shirley Fire “had significant rainfall on it which did slow its rate of progress.”

But Thill said the fire is considered zero percent contained.

It still burned in very steep, brushy terrain, which firefighters planned to tackle Tuesday.

Including Kern County Fire Department personnel, an additional 100 other firefighters are involved in the effort.

The Kern County Fire Department has been involved in fighting several of the fires since Sunday night after numerous lightning strike started fires in the Lake Isabella area.

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