Local News

Wednesday, Aug 25 2010 05:22 PM

Fires prompt state of emergency declaration

  1. 1 of 6

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Firefighters continue to battle the two day old Post Fire, Wednesday, near Lebec. The wildland fire started Tuesday around noon and close to 200 were evauated from the area Tuesday, but were able to return to their homes late Tuesday night. Some came back Wednesday.

    click to expand click to collapse
  2. 2 of 6

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Some areas of the Post Fire were still burning, Wednesday near Lebec, south of Bakersfield. The vegetation fire started Tuesday around noon and has burned several thousand acres.

    click to expand click to collapse
  3. 3 of 6

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Several firefighters were stationed around this structure on Lebec Oaks Road during the second day of the Post Fire near Lebec.

    click to expand click to collapse
  4. 4 of 6

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Firefighters protect an area near a structure, Wednesday afternoon on the second day of the Post Fire near Lebec, which started Tuesday around noon.

    click to expand click to collapse
  5. 5 of 6

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Fire crews are busy mopping up hotspots on the second day of the Post Fire near Lebec, Wednesday.

    click to expand click to collapse
  6. 6 of 6

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Kern County firefighters protect a structure, Wednesday afternoon on Lebec Oaks Road on the second day of the Post Fire near Lebec.

    click to expand click to collapse
BY JEFF GOODMAN, Californian staff writer jgoodman@bakersfield.com

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Wednesday in Kern County as one of three fires that began in the region Tuesday continued burning.

The proclamation unlocks state resources to help local governments fight the flames, California Emergency Management Agency spokesman Kelly Huston said.

In addition, the declaration is often part of a process through which local and state governments can secure federal grant money for response efforts, said Janet Upton, deputy director of communications for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The governor usually takes this action when multiple blazes in relative proximity threaten homes or infrastructure, Upton said.

“The county requested a state of emergency as a result of the fires going on, so that’s why we issued the proclamation,” Schwarzenegger spokesman Jeff Macedo said.

The Post Fire, which began Tuesday afternoon near Lebec, was 60 percent contained as of Wednesday evening, according to the Kern County Fire Department website.

About 1,000 acres of vegetation west of Interstate 5 have burned in the Post Fire, the website said, but no homes were immediately threatened by the flames Wednesday. The fire did not grow Tuesday night.

There were no evacuations or major road closures resulting from the fire Wednesday, although Frazier Park Elementary, El Tejon Middle and Frazier Mountain High schools were closed for the day, according to the website.

Lower temperatures and higher humidity were allies of the approximately 650 fire personnel Tuesday night, and there was “very little wind” Wednesday morning, Kern County Fire Department spokesman Sean Collins said.

The evacuation center that was set up at the high school was closed Tuesday night because area residents were allowed to return to their homes.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the Kern County Fire Department website.

The other two fires, both smaller than the Post Fire, were fully contained by Wednesday morning, Upton said.

The Town Fire, which covered about 300 acres eight miles southwest of Mettler, was contained late Tuesday night, Upton said. That fire had threatened power lines in the area.

The Devil Fire, which spanned about 150 acres, put oil derricks at risk near the Kings County border. It was completely extinguished by Wednesday morning, Upton said.

A state of emergency was also declared July 27, when crews were battling the massive Bull Fire north of Kernville and the West Fire near Tehachapi. Those blazes charred more than 17,500 acres combined.

Have something to share? Comment on this story

Bakersfield.com Daily Deal!

Kern Value Card

Daily Deal

2 Kern Value Discount Membership Cards for $9

Value
$20
% Off
55%
You Save
$11
0 Bought
Buy Now! See more deals