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A grass fire that started adjacent to southbound Interstate 5 in Lebec just after 4 p.m. quickly climbs toward Digier Canyon. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]
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Kern County Fire Department helicopter 407 makes a water drop on the fire line to prevent its advancement to fresh fuels around the fire's south flank. [photo by The Mountain Enterprise]
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Rachelle Black lives on a Lebec alpaca farm in Digier Canyon. Above, one of the alpacas watches the smoke from the fire advancing on the opposite ridge. Evacuation was not necessary this time, but planning ahead is always needed to be prepared, she said. The fire was contained about 8:30 p.m.
LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011 at 7:45 a.m.)–The Grape fire is now estimated to be approximately 85% contained, according to fire officials. Air support today, Wednesday will be provided by Kern County Fire Department helicopter 407. Full containment is expected by 8 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 18. No injuries or damage to structures by the fire have been reported.
LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 at 9:30 p.m.)–Estimated acreage burned is revised to 175 and containment is now estimated to be 50%. Approximately 250 firefighters from Kern County Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service are currently on scene. Water and fire retardant were applied from 4 helicopters as well as 4 air tankers, according to Kern County Fire Deparment Public Information Officer Sean Collins.
LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 at 8:32 p.m.)–Kern County Fire Department Public Information Officer Sean Collins reported that up to 200 acres have been burned and fire crews have approximately 45% containment. 250 firefighters from numerous agencies are involved in fighting the blaze which was reported at 4:06 p.m. after a passing motorist on Interstate 5 had a tire blowout, causing the middle of the vehicle to scrape the pavement, throwing sparks into nearby brush. Collins said fire crews will remain on scene throughout the night. Air support will resume in the morning if needed.
LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 at 7:49 p.m.)–Kern County Fire Department Public Information Officer Sean Collins stated at 7:24 p.m. that there are currently no plans to evacuate Digier Canyon residents.
LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 at 6:19 p.m.)–The "Grape" fire incident commander has requested only one air attack (the fixed-wing spotter plane) and one helicopter for 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.
LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 at 5:37 p.m.)–Kern County’s incident commander says the fire has spread to more than 200 acres with a potential to spread to 1,000 acres. "They are [still] assessing the possible need for evacuating Digier Canyon. There is no immediate threat to structures there. I’m at the top of the rise when you enter Digier Canyon. The fire has been climbing up a ridge north of Digier Canyon," Gary Meyer reported, "They have two helicopters, KCFD 407 and USFS 537 from Chuchupate are coming in, and they have fixed wing aircraft, including a tanker. The helicopters are dropping water that appears to be from the aqueduct."
Only the southbound slow lane of traffic on the Interstate 5 is blocked on the Grapevine.
LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 at 5:17 p.m.)–Discussions are being held right now about the possible evacuation of Digier Canyon. The fire has spread to about 100 acres, according to the reporter for The Mountain Enterprise at the scene.
LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 at 4:39 p.m.)–The fire is now in a rapid rate of spread. The incident commander has ordered two air tankers, additional helicopter support and two strike teams.
LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 at 4:30)–The fire has spread to 30 to 40 acres according to the incident commander. KCFD is currently assessing any possible threat to Digier Canyon. The report is that power line infrastructure could be threatened. KCFD’s helicopter 407 is on scene. Kern County Sheriff’s Department is working to evacuate citizens who are on the side of the freeway on foot.
LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011 at 4:23)–A 15 acre grass fire is burning uphill west from Interstate 5, just north of Fort Tejon near the "lower water hole." Initial reports are that the fire is about 15 acres in size with a moderate rate of spread. Kern County Fire Department’s (KCFD) engine 55 is on scene and other resources are enroute. The fire was not affecting freeway traffic as of 4:21 p.m. Watch this web page for updates.
This is part of the August 12, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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