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A Sikorsky Sky-Crane tanker drops muddy water on the Base fire, east of Interstate 5 Sunday, Aug. 22. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]
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Community reporter Don Eubank snapped this shot of the fire's plume during his trip home from Arvin. [photo by Don Eubank]
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Two Kern County Fire Department bulldozers cut a control line around the Base fire. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]
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Another Don Eubank photo of the Base fire. [photo by Don Eubank]
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A Channel 29 News van tried to approach the fire command post by driving up the runaway truck ramp, which--the driver discovered--is full of large pea gravel designed to stop vehicles from going forward. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]
UPDATE (Aug. 22, 4:45 p.m.)–The Base fire (at the base of the Grapevine) was declared contained at 4 p.m. and controlled at 4:33 p.m. The blaze, sparked by an overturned big rig hauling carrots, reached 150 acres before containment, according to Battalion Chief Kirk Kushen, who spoke with The Mountain Enterprise at the scene. The big rig had overturned about one mile south of the Grapevine northbound exit after reportedly losing its brakes coming down the steep grade. Responding agencies included Kern County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and California Highway Patrol. Approximately 70 Kern County firefighters responded to the incident with a total of 100 personnel fighting the fire. No injuries were reported.
Community reporter Don Eubank filed a report Sunday evening: As I was driving home from Arvin at 3 p.m., I could see the smoke and fire from about 10 miles away. As I could see it from I-5 it looked like about 20 acres. The flames were not big but lots of smoke. They were working very hard to keep the flames away from the grape vines at the bottom and there were two bulldozers making fire breaks. They were lucky that the winds had died down.
Community reporter Fred Rose filed this Breaking News report at 3 p.m.: "Car fire on the Grapevine ignited grass at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. All lanes open as of 3 p.m. Tanker drops are on going now. Smoke blowing south into Lebec area."
In a follow-up email, Rose said "Living in Lebec in our little nook makes us sensitive to the smell of smoke." About 2:30 we noticed the whiffs of tell-tale smoke. I drove out looking for the plumes. The smoke was being blown into Lebec from the Grapevine area." He said that a radio news report mentioned a "car fire" that ignited grass near Grapevine.
LEBEC, California (Sunday, Aug. 22, 2:45 p.m.)–An overturned big rig, dragging its tralier on northbound Interstate 5 has ignited a brush fire on the east side of the freeway, according to early reports by CHP and fire department radio traffic. Incident Commander Kern County Fire Battalion Chief Kirk Kushen has requested four fix-winged air tankers and three helicopters. Kushen reported the fire to currently be a 60 acres "with a potential of 2,000 acres." The incident was reported at 2:04 p.m. All four northbound lanes were closed at 2:41 p.m. due to a load of spilled carrots from the overturned big rig.
A Mountain Enterprise reporter is enroute to the fire location.
This is part of the August 20, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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