UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 at 7 p.m.) CalFire declared the Water fire 100% contained as of 6:58 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14. The fire started on September 12 on the SB (west) side of Interstate 5 and ran up the slope toward Digier Canyon. CalFire reports that the total land burned was 200 acres. There were calls for evacuation in the canyon, but few residents evacuated.
Firefighter Ethan Sanders, who was injured by a dislodged rock, was discharged from the hospital on September 13.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 at 7 p.m.)—The Water fire containment as of 6:45 p.m. today is set at 85%. The Kern County Fire Department update estimates that 200 acres burned as of tonight, on the slopes and hilltops along the west side of 1-5 Northbound. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Cal Fire and KCFD are still working on cleaning up the hot spots with about 25 people.
The evening status report said that firefighters walking the perimeter of the fire with GPS have provided a more accurate estimate of the burned area. “Cal Fire resources will be complete this evening. KCFD firefighters are expected to continue operations through tomorrow,” the report said.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 at 5:28 p.m.)—Kern County Fire Department issued this update today on the condition of the firefighter injured while working the Water fire in Lebec yesterday:
“The Kern County Fire Department is pleased to inform you that Firefighter Ethan Sanders has been released from the hospital. Sanders sustained injuries, from a rock rolling downhill, while fighting the Water Fire along Interstate 5. His continued recovery will be of the highest priority, for his loved ones at home, as well as his Kern County Fire Department family. We would like to thank the community of Kern County for the overwhelming support that has been shown through this difficult time.”
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 at 9:45 a.m.)—About 95 acres have now been burned by the Water fire in Lebec’s Digier Canyon. Containment is at 75%, the Kern County Fire Department reported this morning. Cal Fire and KCFD are currently working with about 50 personnel. Los Angeles County assets were dismissed yesterday.
The fire started adjacent to the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 yesterday north of Fort Tejon.
“Firefighters worked through the night securing the perimeter of the fire. This hard work in steep terrain will continue through today. Incident Commander Alex Battistoni estimates that, fire crews will be working into the evening to reach the goal of 100% containment,” this morning’s update said.
An accident occurred when one firefighter was injured by a dislodged boulder. Pine Mountain Club’s Station #58 firefighter paramedic was on scene to administer Advanced Life Support within minutes. The firefighter was evacuated in KCFD’s Helicopter 408. He is in stable condition in the hospital at this time, KCFD reports.
Today’s gusting winds are an alert to all residents and visitors to this region to be extra cautious about anything that could generate a spark in these dry, volatile conditions.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2018 at 8:10 a.m.)—Here is Kern County Fire Department’s report from last night at 11:29 p.m.:
ACRES: approx. 95 CONTAINMENT: 60 %
CAUSE: Under Investigation INJURIES: 1
AGENCIES ASSIGNED: Kern County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Cal Fire, Bureau of Land Management, US Forestry Service, CHP, Kern County Sheriff Office, Red Cross
TOTAL PERSONNEL: Approx: 200
INCIDENT NARRATIVE: Lebec, Calif., 11:25 AM, reports were received by the Kern County Fire Department of a vehicle fire on Interstate 5. Units were dispatched to the south bound side of Interstate 5, south of Grapevine Rd. The first fire engine to arrive found a fully involved passenger vehicle and a grass fire nearby, approximately 15 acres in size. Additional resources were ordered to stop the forward progress of the fire. Around 12:00 PM, due to the threat to structures in Digier Canyon, a recommended evacuation notice was made for residents of Digier Canyon. Around 2:40 p.m. the aggressive use of ground and air resources had stopped the forward progress of the fire. The recommended evacuation notice was lifted at approximately 3:30 p.m. Approximately 80 firefighters are still on scene to secure the perimeter and monitor areas for potential rolling debris.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Today while fighting the Water fire near Digier Canyon, a firefighter from the Kern County Fire Department was injured. The injury occurred around 1:30 pm. The firefighter is a member of Crew 7. The injury was from a rolling rock in which moderate injuries were sustained. On scene Firefighter Paramedics from KCFD station 58 were first to make patient contact, enabling them to begin providing ALS care within minutes of the injury occurring. Helicopter 408 directly transported the firefighter to a local hospital where evaluation and treatment is being provided. The firefighter is in stable condition.
EVACUATIONS: No current evacuations
ROAD CLOSURES: None
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 10:00 p.m.)—Although fire crews have completed a “line around the fire,” according to one fire official, they will be working through the night to mop up.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 8:39 p.m.)—The Water fire is about 60% contained according to radio traffic from crews on scene.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.)—Kern County Fire Department Public Information Officer Andrew Freeborn provided this update regarding the injured firefighter: Today while fighting the Water fire near Digier Canyon, a firefighter from the Kern County Fire Department was injured. The injury occurred around 1:30 pm. The firefighter is a member of Crew 7 and was actively engaged in ground fire suppression efforts at the time of the injury. The injury was from a rolling rock in which moderate injuries were sustained. Helicopter 408 utilized its hoist capabilities with Paramedic on board to successfully extricate the injured firefighter. Helicopter 408 directly transported the firefighter to a local hospital where evaluation and treatment is being provided. The firefighter is in stable condition.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 3:36 p.m.)—Evacuation orders have been lifted in the Water fire.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 3:13 p.m.)—Several fixed-wing air tankers have been released from the fire.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 3:03 p.m.)—Los Angeles County Engine 77 has been released from the fire. There was a comment from a Kern County fire official that crews had slowed the spread of the fire, but the fire was not yet contained. Evacuations of Digier Canyon are still advised by Kern County Fire Department. The fire is estimated to be at about 60 acres.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 1:35 p.m.)—“A firefighter is down” was the radio traffic a minute ago. Kern County Fire Department is currently seeking a medevac helicopter to respond.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 1:02 p.m.)—The evacuation center has changed. Evacuees are directed to go to the gym at Frazier Mountain High School.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 12:27 p.m.)—Evacuees are directed to go to the parking lot at Fort Tejon.
UPDATE–LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 12:17 p.m.)—All residents in Digier Canyon are now ordered to evacuate. There are around 100 homes in the canyon. The fire is now reported to be approximately 50 acres in size.
LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 11:57 a.m.)—Evacuations have been ordered to start in Digier Canyon.
LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 11:52 a.m.)—Kern County Sheriff’s Department is starting in the direction of Digier Canyon for “possible” evacuations.
LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 11:48 a.m.)—Two structure protection groups have been sent into Digier Canyon. Additional engines from multiple outside areas are en route, including engines 57 and 58, as well as L.A. County Engine 77.
LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 11:45 a.m.)—The fire is now reported to be approximately 30 to 40 acres in size. No structures are reported to be threatened at this time.
LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 11:37 a.m.)—The fire is reported to be approximately 15 acres in size at this time.
LEBEC, CA (Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 at 11:28 a.m.)—A wildfire started several minutes ago alongside the southbound Interstate 5 north of Fort Tejon. Four air tankers, three helicopters (including Chuchupate Ranger Station’s helicopter), three bulldozers and two strike teams are en route. Kern County Fire Department Engine 56 is on scene. The cause of the fire appears to be the result of a vehicle fire on I-5.
This is part of the September 14, 2018 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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