By Gary Meyer
A small brush fire rushed up a ridge from the former Tait Ranch property Friday, March 21 to threaten over a hundred homes in the southeastern neighborhoods of Frazier Park.
The blaze was controlled in about one hour. Residents were relieved to see quick action by local firefighters. No structures were lost or injuries reported.
Reports of fire in the ravine near homes at the east end of Nebraska Trail came in just before 4 p.m.
Engines from Kern County Fire Department stations 57, 56 and 58, plus U.S. Forest Service Chuchupate Ranger Station firefighters responded quickly. As firefighters got into position, brush clearance around Bert Vann’s fence and trees slowed the blaze from rushing into the neighborhood.
Two helicopters and two air tankers were first requested, but firefighters found one chopper was enough. It filled its tank from a pond at Tait Ranch for quick turnarounds on the eight drops needed to put out the flames. Drought conditions make it wise for owners to clear their lots early this year, firefighters warn, to create 30 feet of defensible space around all structures. —Added reporting by P. Hedlund
U.S. Forest Service firefighters pull water hoses hundreds of feet up the hill to the flames.
Kern County Fire Department helicopter 408 drops water on a ridge between homes and the Tait Ranch property. Top-right, ladder fuels bring fire up a dry pine tree on the ridge just 30 yards from a home on Kansas Trail. Early lot clearance is the best defense in this drought-dry year against fire hazards, firefighters say.
Smaller shrubs leading up to a dry pine tree in this photo illustrate how “ladder fuels” carry a grass fire upward. This is the tree firefighters rushed across the ravine to extinguish.
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This is part of the March 28, 2014 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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