Published Friday, June 24, 2016
LOS ANGELES (AP) â€” Firefighters battling fires raging through Western states are contending with weather and human interference, but some progress is being made. The following is a look at noteworthy fires Thursday:
A wildfire broke out Thursday and exploded in size, consuming at least 50 to 60 homes as it tore through several rural communities in central California northeast of Bakersfield, authorities said.
The blaze broke out near Lake Isabella in late afternoon amid heat in the 90s and single-digit humidity, climbing over at least three ridges into hillside neighborhoods, Kern County fire Capt. Tyler Townsend said.
The fire has burned nearly four square miles, and about 1,000 homes are under threat.
Some houses were already little more than embers on the ground, while others were deep in flames.
Smoky haze could be seen for miles around, and orange flames lit the evening air as planes and helicopters made drops on the blaze.
“I’ve never been in a wildland fire where I’ve seen so many homes burn,” said Townsend, who has been in the area for nearly a decade. “It’s one of the most devastating I’ve ever seen.”
Elsewhere in the state, cooler weather helped crews fighting two fires that burned more than 8 square miles of chaparral and brush in the Angeles National Forest and foothill communities northeast of Los Angeles. The fires were 15 percent contained.
More than 1,300 homes were evacuated during the 4-day-old blaze, but around half of the residents have been allowed back.
No homes have burned.
Near the San Diego County border with Mexico, an 11-square-mile fire was 35 percent contained after burning five homes. A majority of evacuees were cleared to return at 6 p.m. Thursday.