Grand Fire update: Fire burns 3,000 acres in Kern County, 10 percent contained

An aerial shot of the
An aerial shot of the "Grand Fire" in Kern County.
Courtesy NBCLA
An aerial shot of the
Stefanie Narayan sent KPCC this photo taken from an airliner over the Kern County "Grand Fire."
Courtesy of Stefanie Narayan

The Grand Park fire — Thursday update

Update 6:46 p.m.: Grand Fire now 10 percent contained, I-5 'wide open'

The Kern County Fire Department said the quickly-burning Grand Fire is now 10 percent contained. Department spokesman Corey Wilford told KPCC the fire has now spread into Los Angeles County. 

Winds have begun to settle down from earlier Wednesday afternoon, Wilford said, but gusts are still stoking the fire onwards. 

"We have seen the winds kind of die down in the last couple hours or so," he said. 

The I-5 Freeway remains “wide open” to drivers, Wilford said, but authorities are trying to dissuade drivers from slowing down to view or take photos of the fire, which is clearly visible from the road.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Update 5:43 p.m.: 800 firefighters called up

The Kern County Fire Department says 800 firefighters have now been assigned to battle the 3,000 acre fire, with more expected to come.

The fire, dubbed the "Grand Fire," is still 0 percent contained. 

Update 5:02 p.m.: Acreage creeps to 3,000 

The fire burning near Los Padres National Forest has grown to 3,000 acres, Kern County fire officials said. There are mandatory evacuations in place for Piru Creek Camp Ground andHungry Valley State Park. 

Kern County fire spokesman Corey Wilford told KPCC that the fire has been spreading quickly. 

"We're dealing with a very fast moving wildfire, he said. "Winds are getting behind it really strong." 

In combination with dry wood in the area from a mostly rainless winter season, the fire has little to stop it.

"We'd expected it this year, but right now we're paying for it," Wilford said.

Fortunately,  there are no buildings currently in the "Grand Fire's" path.

"We've been pretty lucky. There are no buildings in the path of the fire. The fire is continuing on a path that takes it through the wilderness." Wilford said. 

Update 4:39 p.m.: Firefighters are using heavy aerial artillery against a fast-moving brush fire in an effort to keep it from getting into Los Padres National Forest.

Forest spokesman Andrew Madsen told KPCC the fire started at about 12:30 Wednesday afternoon near Frazier Park. 

"At this point the fire appears to be burning away from the National Forest land and towards the Hungry Valley state OHV Recreation Area," Madsen said. "We have five fixed-winged air tankers that are working the fire dropping retardant around the perimeter. We also have four water-dropping helicopters that are assigned to the fire."

Kern County fire spokesman Corey Wilford told the Associated Press that 750 acres have been blackened in Frazier Park, where Kern and Los Angeles counties meet. 

Wilford said Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area is being emptied.

Frazier Mountain High School has also been evacuated, according to Forest spokesperson Madsen.. The fire is threatening several structures, but it's not clear if those are homes.

Wilford said the fire, burning in thick brush, seasonal grasses and sage, is creeping into the mountainous area's tree line.

Winds are 10 mph with gusts to 20.

Firefighters from Kern, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service are battling the blaze.

View Larger Map