Kern Co. wildfire evacuates thousands
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- We're following developing news out of Kern County where a wildfire forced thousands of people to evacuate and shut down a busy highway.
Saturday morning, firefighters made progress, getting people back into their homes.
The so-called "cove fire" started Friday near Lake Isabella in the hills about 50 miles east of Bakersfield.
Thirty-mile an hour winds helped spread the flames across more than 1,300 acres.
About 400 homes were threatened, and as many as 4,000 people were told to evacuate. Those evacuation orders have been lifted.
Some homeowners who chose not to leave grabbed hoses to keep the flames away.
"Crews came in last minute to save the day. I thought for sure this building and this other one were gone, because the flames were so high as the roof," Jesse Britton said.
Highway 178 through the Kern River Valley was closed for several hours but re-opened around 7:30 Friday night.
Right now, the fire is about 25-percent contained.
Dozens of Valley firefighters are helping battle the blaze in Kern County.
A strike team from Fresno Cal Fire left Saturday night.
This is video of one of the five engines taking off from Cal Fire Headquarters in Fresno County near Highway 180 and academy at midnight.
Cal Fire engineers say they're ready for the task ahead.
"We do this all the time...especially in the summer time we go up and down the state to help those who need our assistance," Tyler Attebury said.
Friday, another strike team of five engines from Tulare County Cal Fire was also dispatched to help with more than 90 firefighters.
About 36 firefighters were also sent to Tulare County to backfill.
kern county, widlfire, bakersfield, local
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