The Water fire near the Grapevine 95% contained at 612 acres

  • A grass fire (named the Water fire) rushes up hills toward Digier Canyon, driven by winds. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]

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    A grass fire (named the Water fire) rushes up hills toward Digier Canyon, driven by winds. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]

  • Interim Mt. Pinos District Ranger Roy Morris discusses the fire's progress with Fire Management Officer John Abell. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]

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    Interim Mt. Pinos District Ranger Roy Morris discusses the fire's progress with Fire Management Officer John Abell. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]

  • Fire crews are trying to keep the fire out of the drainage leading into Digier Canyon. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]

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    Fire crews are trying to keep the fire out of the drainage leading into Digier Canyon. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]

  • Rachelle Black's photo shows how the Water fire is creeping up Digier Canyon. Look closely to see the helicopter near the middle of the photo.

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    Rachelle Black's photo shows how the Water fire is creeping up Digier Canyon. Look closely to see the helicopter near the middle of the photo.

LEBEC, CA (Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 9:58 a.m.)—Fire officials have stated that the Water fire is now 95% contained. Their report this morning reads: “Forward progress of the Water Fire has been stopped, and fire crews worked throughout the night to continue building fireline around the perimeter. Officials are expecting minimal fire activity throughout the day, with heavier fuels inside the burn requiring extensive mop up. 25 homes are still classified as threatened, and will continue to be until fireline is completed.”

LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 8:20 a.m.)—Forward progress of the Water Fire has been stopped, and fire crews worked throughout the night to build fireline around the perimeter. Officials are expecting minimal fire activity throughout the day, with heavier fuels inside the burn requiring extensive mop up. 25 homes are still classified as threatened, and will continue to be until fireline is completed.

LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 4:32 p.m.)—Kern County Fire Department reports that the Water fire is 50% contained after 550 acres have burned. The report is as follows: Fire crews have made excellent progress on the fire and averted the threat to Digier Canyon. Forward progress of the fire has now been stopped. Evacuation orders for the Digier Canyon area are expected to be lifted by tonight to allow residents to return home. This fire burned extremely quickly, due to the large areas of grass and steepness of the terrain which produced flame lengths in excess of 30 ft. Crews will remain on scene throughout the night with continued perimeter control and mop up. Smoke from the fire and flare ups interior to the lines will be remain to be seen.

LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 3:03 p.m.)—Fire officials have estimated 40% containment of the Water fire in the Digier Canyon area.

LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 1:14 p.m.)—Kern County Fire Department reports the Water fire is 350 acres and 25% contained. Report is as follows: Fire crews were dispatched to the report of two grass fires on the west side of Interstate 5, north of the Fort Tejon exit. On arrival firefighters were faced with two fast running fires which quickly joined and became the Water Fire. Air support from 4 tankers and 4 helicopters have assisted crews on the ground to anchor and hold the fires edge from the road.

LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 12:38 p.m.)—Fire officials have estimated the Water fire to be 25% contained.

LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 12:35 p.m.)—Digier Canyon resident Rachelle Black reports: Fire fighters are working with fixed wing craft and helicopters on the Southern most mountain in Digier canyon to stop the fire from cresting the ridge and coming down towards us. Helicopters are dropping at the bottom of the canyon (east) to stop it from coming up the wash to us… feeling a little surrounded right now. But we know we are in good hands!

LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.)—Fire crews are attempting to keep the fire (the Water fire) from establishing itself in the drainage leading up into Digier Canyon.

LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 9:40 a.m.)—The Mountain Enterprise reporter is standing just north of where the Rancho fire burned this last week. He is watching 30- to 40-foot flames at the lower end of the grade coming up from the freeway. This wind-driven fire is heading to the southwest, into Digier Canyon. Fire Engine 56 is in the canyon. A helicopter has begun making water drops. Bulldozers are heading into the canyon. Kern County Sheriffs Deputies have just headed in to evacuate residents. The evacuation center has been changed to Gorman School, in Gorman.

“The fire is burning over hills that have burned in the last few years. It is a wind driven thing up the hillside. If it gets up into the scrub oak in the canyon it can heat up and accelerate,” Gary Meyer said.

Near the freeway it looks like lighter grassy hillsides; this fire may run into some of the areas that burned last week, Meyer observed.

John Abell with the U.S. Forest Service and two patrol vehicles are also on site.

LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 9 a.m.)—Another fire has been reported near the Fort Tejon exit on southbound side of the Grapevine section of Interstate 5. The report came in at 8:30 a.m. Firefighting resources including helicopters are on the way. This fire may be between the Rancho fire and the fire that threatened O’Neill Canyon on July 7. A fire was also reported at the lower water hole north of Fort Tejon. The situation is unclear and we will update this report shortly.

We’ve received a report that residents are being evacuated to El Tejon School, a reporter heading to the site said. [The evacuation site has been changed to Gorman School. See update above.]

This is part of the July 19, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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