California Wildfire Threatens 500 Homes

June 17, 2014

Firefighters were racing to control a wildfire that threatened more than 500 homes in central California before hotter, drier weather sets in later in the week.

By later Sunday, the fire had burned through 3.1 square miles (8 sq. kilometers) of trees and brush in and around the Sequoia National Forest. More than 1,100 firefighters were battling the blaze in steep, rugged terrain. They were aided by retardant-dropping air tankers and helicopters that can fly through the night. They were scooping water from a lake to use against the fire.

Authorities have called on residents of the threatened homes to evacuate.

While firefighters stopped the flames from reaching homes, officials anticipated that the fire will spread toward a community near a popular lakeside recreation spot.

Officials said the fire has destroyed at least two structures and was 10 percent contained.

The blaze broke out Friday night in remote area northwest of the lake and exploded late Saturday as dry winds pushed the flames toward homes, prompting Kern County Sheriff’s deputies to knock on doors into the night to urge residents to leave.

More crews were expected to join the fight. Authorities planned to keep the augmented crews working through a “swing shift” so they don’t lose any time during shift changes to make progress, Forest Service spokeswoman Jennifer Chapman said.

The Forest Service said that camping, horseback riding, rafting and other activities in the Sequoia district were so far unaffected by the blaze.

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