This air tanker dropped numerous loads of retardant along the fire?s southwest line, bringing its forward progress to a standstill. [Meyer photo]
UPDATE (August 24, 2009-1:30 p.m.) According to Kern County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Smith, "Approximately 100 acres have burned. We’re calling it the School fire."
Asked if they had any control or containment estimate, Chief Smith said, “It’s looking pretty good but I’m not going to count my chickens.” He pointed to firefighters climbing up the ridgeline, “Those guys have to get all the way up there and all the way around the fire.”
He said he estimates the fire to be 20% contained at this point.
Reporter Meyer heard radio chatter indicating that LA County is sending in strike teams. Kern County Fire Department is the incident command; Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, California Department of Forestry, California Highway Patrol and Kern County Sheriff’s Office are on scene.
UPDATE (August 24, 2009-12:59 p.m.) "It appears that they have this fire under control," Meyer called in to report as another water drop was made.
UPDATE (August 24, 2009–12:43 p.m.) The fire appears to have started near Lebec Road north of the Mobile tanks at the intersection with Lebec Oaks Road, then "raged up the hill in a southwesterly direction," reporter Gary Meyer said. "It was just screaming up that hill toward Los Padres Estates, but at the top it slowed down and that is where they are stopping it." Aircraft are dropping water and fire retardant at the top of the ridge. The fire seemed to have come to a standstill, then—as we were posting this report—it made a run down a ridge line in a southeasterly direction (at 12:54 p.m.). Residences in the immediate vicinity have patrol trucks stationed nearby, standing at alert.
LEBEC (August 24, 2009–12:30 p.m.) A fire has been reported on Lebec Oaks Road.
“Numerous local crews are responding and a strike team has been dispatched from Bakersfield for additional structure protection,” according to Brandon Smith, Public Information Officer for the Kern County Fire Department.
Although winds are currently estimated at 10-15 miles per hour, there are homes and structures in the immediate vicinity and the fire department “isn’t taking any chances as it can get pretty windy up there,” Smith added.
The Mountain Enterprise will update as we have more information.
This is part of the August 21, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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