Shirley Fire: Evacuations lifted, 90 percent containment

A wildfire in Kern County about 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield burned about 2,200 acres over the weekend and was threatening homes on Monday. The fire started on Friday, June 13, 2014.
A wildfire in Kern County about 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield burned about 2,200 acres over the weekend and was threatening homes on Monday. The fire started on Friday, June 13, 2014.
National Wildlife Coordinating Group

Update Wednesday 10:55 a.m. Fire 90 percent contained 

The Shirley Fire has consumed 2,646 acres and is now 90 percent contained, according to the US Forest Service. 

The US Forest service also shared information about road closures:

Due to continued firefighting and suppression activities portions of Old State Road will remain closed at the Forest boundary to all but local traffic. Residents are asked to exercise caution when driving in the vicinity.

Portions of the following National Forest roads are closed. Residents, owners, lessees of property are exempt from the closure as long as the closure does not fall within an evacuation area:

Update 7:00 p.m.: Evacuations lifted as fire and containment grow

Evacuations were lifted for the Shirley Fire burning in Kern County, Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall said at a community meeting Monday night.

The wildfire grew throughout the day Monday, but firefighters were able stop its from threatening homes in the area. Spokesman Jay Nichols told KPCC firefighters worked all night and throughout the day Monday to contain the blaze.

"We've been pretty aggressive about fighting this fire," he said. "We had access to night operation helicopters, which is a relatively new development in fighting fire. The weather contributed, and we had a lot of assets available to us." 

Nichols, who's attached to California Inter-agency incident community team 3, said at least two structures have been destroyed, and another damaged by the blaze. 

You can watch archived video of a community meeting that was held Monday night to discuss the situation below: 

Video: Community meeting on Shirley Fire

— Eric Zassenhaus, KPCC

Update 10:31 a.m.: Wildfire prompts evacuations in Kern County

A wildfire burning near homes Monday in the southern Sierra Nevada west of California's Lake Isabella grew only slightly overnight and crews expected to make significant progress before hotter, drier weather sets in later in the week.

Firefighters using air tankers and helicopters were battling the blaze, which has charred about 3.4 square miles of trees and brush in and around the Sequoia National Forest.

Flames came within a mile of the mountain community of Wofford Heights and authorities called on residents of about a thousand threatened homes to evacuate.

MORE: See more details at KPCC's Fire Tracker

The Shirley Fire has destroyed at least two structures, fire spokesman Jay Nichols said.

The blaze was 10 percent contained, but officials said that number was expected to grow throughout the day.

The fire broke out Friday night in remote area about 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield 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 than 1,100 firefighters were battling the blaze in steep, rugged terrain at elevations around 2,500 feet amid a popular outdoor recreation area. Aircraft were scooping water from Lake Isabella to use against the flames.

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.

"Our current outlook for the forecast is such that we are really ramping up suppression operations over the next couple of days because it's going to be even hotter and drier at the end of the week," she said.

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

— Associated Press