Local News

Monday, Jun 06 2011 07:00 PM

Firefighters gain ground on multiple blazes

BY JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Four wildfires have kept local firefighters hopping from one trouble spot to the next.

The Key fire, by far the largest of the blazes at 151 acres, was 75 percent contained as of Monday evening, Kern County firefighters reported. Crews battled it in steep terrain that's only accessible by foot or air.

The fire broke out Sunday afternoon near the intersection of HIghway 155 and three miles south on Keysville Road near Lake Isabella, firefighters reported. Kern County, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service firefighters -- about 300 in all -- were fighting the blaze.

The fire was burning in heavy grass and timber. Helicopters were supporting ground crews as they bring it under control and mop up inside the fireline.

Evacuations were lifted and the shelter in Lake Isabella is closed, firefighters reported. The fire is under investigation.

One minor injury to a firefighter has been reported. There has been no damage to structures.

Investigators are requesting help from the public in identifying a small white pickup truck carrying an orange KTM and blue Yamaha dirt bikes. The vehicle was seen leaving the area at around the time the fire was reported.

Anyone with information should contact 1-877 FIRETIP. Information can be left anonymously.

The other wildfires that sprang up this weekend ranged from one to 50 acres.

Kern County Fire spokesman Sean Collins said the fire department has mutual aid agreements with other agencies so they don't get stretched too thin battling multiple blazes.

"From a county perspective, we can only put so many engine companies onto those fires because we have a responsibility to the rest of Kern County," he said.

Another wildfire, the Laurel fire, was reported mid-afternoon Sunday in Bodfish, according to firefighters. The blaze, in the Buckeye Road area, was moving fast and threatening several structures when firefighters arrived.

About 20 Kern County firefighters and two aircraft responded, firefighters reported. It was contained to one acre and no injuries were reported.

The cause was reported to have been a weed eater used to clear brush, firefighters reported.

The third wildfire, called the Sand fire, was reported in Tehachapi's Sand Canyon area Sunday evening. Eleven Kern County firefighters, assisted by Bureau of Land Management and California City firefighters, responded and the fire was contained to three acres and extinguished in 20 minutes, firefighters reported.

There were no reports of injuries or damage to structures.

Lastly, the slow-moving Range fire northwest of Frazier Park was contained to 50 acres, firefighters reported. First reported Saturday afternoon, the fire spread into brush and grass near a shooting range at the end of West End Road.

The cause is under investigation.

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