California wildfire: Dozens of homes destroyed near Lake Isabella

A home is engulfed fully in a fire caused by a fast burning wildfire in the section of South Lake near Lake Isabella, Calif., on Friday, June the 24th, 2016.

"It's a firefight of epic proportions", said Kern County Fire Department's Brian Marshall said at a news conference.

Residents have described a frantic flight from mountain communities where a wildfire burned dozens of homes to the ground in California's southern Sierra Nevada. Officials said those numbers could increase significantly as it becomes easier to assess the damage in daylight.

The fire has led hundreds of residents to evacuate, officials said.

The rapidly expanding blaze, 241 kilometers north of Los Angeles, has destroyed 100 structures, including homes, outbuildings and detached garages, Mr. Nicholas said.

Three firefighters have suffered smoke inhalation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday said the risk of catastrophic wildfires had increased because of the 66 million trees that had died in California from 2010 to October 2015.

As of Thursday night, it had burned more than 5,200 acres of chaparral and short grass, and containment lines had only been drawn around 15 percent of the fire's perimeter, InciWeb said.

To the south, firefighters still were struggling to manage two fires in the foothills of Los Angeles County, dubbed the San Gabriel Complex. Kern County fire destroys 80 homes, spreads to 4,000 acres.

Authorities said they were overwhelmed by the fire, which pushed into rural communities Thursday evening so quickly that firefighters could not keep up with the inferno. Several thousand people were under evacuation orders.

“When people choose not to leave, it can lead to danger for themselves, for firefighters and for the community”, Townsend said. These rules apply to residents who live within wild land urban interface areas and require homeowners to clear space around the home to make it harder for the fire to jump to structures.

Evacuation centers were established at Senior Center, 6405 Lake Isabella Boulevard and Kern Valley High School, 3340 Erskine Creek Road. There is also a strong aviation, space, and military presence, such as Edwards Air Force Base, the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, and the Mojave Air and Space Port.



  • Hannah Rogers