Local News

Tuesday, Jun 19 2012 08:34 PM

Wildfire near French Gulch threatens 45 structures

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    A wildfire burns through the brush and trees near Hungry Gulch, between Lake Isabella and Wofford Heights, in this June 19, 2012 file photo.

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By Californian staff and wire reports

Residents were evacuated and more than 45 structures were threatened by a wildfire Tuesday night near French Gulch between Wofford Heights and Lake Isabella.

The fire, dubbed the Gulch Fire, started just after 6:15 p.m. and had grown to 200 to 300 acres about three hours later, Kern County Fire Department Capt. Derek Tisinger said.

A mandatory evacuation was ordered for the Hungry Gulch subdivision and Isabella Highlands, Tisinger said. An evacuation center was set up at Kernville Elementary School and Highway 155 was closed from Highway 178 to Tillie Creek in Wofford Heights, firefighters said.

At about 9:30 p.m., Tisinger said the fire was right up against Isabella Highlands.

“That’s where we’re trying to hold it,” he said.

Crews from the Kern County Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service were battling the fire. Tisinger said 164 firefighters were on scene and 240 more were en route.

Forest Service spokeswoman Cindy Thill said firefighters were working in very steep, rocky terrain as the fire whipped through mixed brush, grass, oak trees and pine trees as it burned near the west shore of Isabella Lake.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, according to Tisinger.

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