Wildfire Erupts in Lockwood Valley

  • CHP officers stopped traffic on Lockwood Valley Road as a wildfire moved northwest into a stand of pine trees. Numerous community reporters called to report the fire. [Above, Gary Meyer photo; below, Linda Curtis photo] See more photos in The Mountain Enterprise April 24 issue.

    CHP officers stopped traffic on Lockwood Valley Road as a wildfire moved northwest into a stand of pine trees. Numerous community reporters called to report the fire. [Above, Gary Meyer photo; below, Linda Curtis photo] See more photos in The Mountain Enterprise April 24 issue.

FIRE UPDATE (5:35 p.m.)—Mt. Pinos District Forest Ranger Tom Kuekes reports that the fire’s spread has been stopped and the fire is 50% contained within a burn area of 20 acres. "Crews are making good progress," he said. "A spot fire about a quarter mile to the south was cooled down with water drops and crews were able to take care of that."

FRAZIER PARK, Calif. (Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 3:45 p.m.)—A wildfire broke out in Lockwood Valley just before 12:30 p.m., about a half mile west of Chuchupate ranger station.

Kern County Fire Department responded and, upon arrival the first crew quickly evaluated the fire and immediately ordered a 2nd alarm. The crew then began making an attack on the fire. As additional resources arrived, the fire was divided into areas and the additional resources attacked the head and flanks of the fire.

Approximately 20 to 30 acres have burned, according to Mt. Pinos District Forest Ranger Tom Kuekes. "So far, the fire has laid down pretty good. We have two dozers on-scene that will work to get some line built. Two air tankers are on the way and two helicopters—one from Ventura County and one from Santa Barbara—are now providing water drops," Kuekes said.

No injuries have been reported.

No estimate was available on containment.

CHP began escorting groups of motorists on Lockwood Valley Road, past the fire area, at approximately 2:30 p.m.

U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Battalion Chief John Abell took over as Incident Commander during the afternoon. Assisting agencies included Kern County Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, USFS personnel from Angeles National Forest, California Highway Patrol and Kern County Sheriff’s Department.

The Mountain Enterprise spoke with Bob Stowell who, while driving westbound on Lockwood Valley Road before 12:30 p.m., observed smoke and flames south of the highway. Stowell had to drive further to the west in order to get a cell phone signal where he reported the fire at 12:31 p.m. While parked he says he observed someone walking near the fire area, and then observed a late model beige Ford F-250 truck leaving the fire area and driving east on Lockwood Valley Road toward Lake of the Woods.

Stowell says he drove into the area where the truck had emerged, to see whether anyone else was in the area. He saw a tent, an ice chest with a lot of beer cans and litter strewn around the makeshift campsite.

This is part of the April 17, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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