[Educator-Gold] DISASTERS: WILDFIRES : UNITED STATES: STATES: CALIFORNIA : ENVIRONMENT: GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE: 50 To 60 Homes Burn in Fast-Moving Brush Fire in Kern County

 

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DISASTERS: WILDFIRES :

UNITED STATES: STATES: CALIFORNIA :

ENVIRONMENT: GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE:

50 To 60 Homes Burn in Fast-Moving Brush Fire in Kern County

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50 To 60 Homes Burn in Fast-Moving Brush Fire in Kern County

By Nina Agrawal and Alexia Fernandez

Fires Wildfires National Weather Service

June 24, 2016

Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/ la-me-kern-county-fire-20160623-snap-htmlstory.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/zwauves

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An estimated 50 to 60 homes burned Thursday evening in a fast-moving fire that broke out in a rural area of Kern County, the most destructive blaze in a week of brush fires across Southern and Central California.

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The Erskine fire was burning off Erskine Creek Road just south of Highway 178, near Lake Isabella in Squirrel Valley. The blaze is extremely dangerous, extremely volatile, said Kern County Fire Capt. Tyler Townsend.

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I’ve never been in a wildland fire where I’ve seen so many homes burn, said Townsend, who has been in the area for nearly a decade. It’s one of the most devastating I’ve ever seen.

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The California Highway Patrol set up road closures on Highway 178. Firefighters were evacuating residents and protecting structures in the path of the blaze, which was at 3,000 acres and growing.

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Video from local TV stations showed the fire moving rapidly down a hillside and into a neighborhood of homes. Another video from the Kern County Fire Department showed some structures engulfed in flames as a large water tanker flew over the blaze.

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Cathy Berlin sat with her three dogs, son and wife at the entrance of the Senior Center in Lake Isabella, wondering what would come next.

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“We lost our house, I’ve lived in that house for as long as I’ve lived here, 14 years,” she said. “Now we’ve got nothing.”

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Berlin’s house, a mobile home, was one of several mobile homes that burned in the flames of the Erskine Fire, which swept across the mountains rapidly.

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Berlin was in Los Angeles on Thursday, taking a friend to the hospital when she heard of the fire.

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“It took me five hours to get here, even though I went 90 miles per hour,” she said. “My family got out, but they didn’t have time to take anything except the dogs.”

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The fire has burned about five square miles, and about 1,000 homes are under threat, including in the small rural communities of South Fork, Weldon, Onyx, Lakeland Estates, Yankee Canyon and Mountain Mesa.

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Some houses were already little more than embers on the ground, while others were deep in flames.

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Smoky haze could be seen for miles, and orange flames lighted the evening air as planes and helicopters made drops.

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Conditions were the worst they could have been for a fire, said Geri Jackson, a spokeswoman with the 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.

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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.

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The fire was also fueled by brush dried out from four years of drought, she said.

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Within five hours of the fire being reported, it had grown from 200 acres to 3,000 acres and destroyed at least 50 homes, according to estimates from the Kern County Fire Department.

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snip

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Weather conditions will get worse through the weekend, Hall said.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Sincerely,
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