High heat, wind may hinder Lebec fire fight
LEBEC, Calif. (KABC) -- As crews in Kern County make progress on the wildfire in Lebec, extreme heat and strong winds may hinder the fire fight.
As of Wednesday afternoon, officials said the fire was about 30 percent contained with 1,308 acres burned.
About 250 homes in the Chimney Canyon area were evacuated on Tuesday, but all evacuation orders have since been lifted. However, pockets of fire still remain active in the area.
Even thought the fire laid down overnight and the humidity increased, Wednesday's triple-digit temps are reasons for concern for those fighting the blaze.
"We tell them, 'You drink as much water as you need to.' The last thing we want is somebody going down on the side of the hill with dehydration. Then, we have to try to get them out of here," said Cal Fire Capt. Nick Perricelli.
Increasing gusts in the area are also cause for concern.
"What we don't want with this fire is it to go three dimensional, and by that, we're talking about the fire getting off the ground in the understory and into the canopy of the trees, and it becomes a crown fire. They are very hard to fight," said Sean Collins with the Kern County Fire Department.
The fire broke out on the west side of the 5 Freeway near Lebec Road at about 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday. The blaze torched some old cars but homes were spared. Firefighters say a lot of the credit goes to the homeowners, as they did a very good job of clearing brush in the area.
Hillsides of dry grass and pine trees have been doused with thousands of gallons of fire retardant.
Though the blaze is no longer directly threatening homes, crews are still keeping a close eye on the situation.
"I think we're still going to really pay attention to Frazier Park, where the fire is on the other side. We're going to continue to be here in the Los Padres Estates. The incident commander feels real good about the Lebec Road right now and all those homes there," said Debbie Santiago from the Bureau of Land Management.
About 650 firefighters are working to contain the blaze.
Classes were canceled on Wednesday at Frazier Park Elementary School, El Tejon Middle School and Frazier Mountain High School.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
wildfire, wildfire center
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