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Lightning-sparked wildfire burns 500 acres in Kern County

August 19, 2013|By Robert J. Lopez
  • Smoke rises as the Shirley fire rages out of control in the Sequoia National Forest.
Smoke rises as the Shirley fire rages out of control in the Sequoia National… (U.S. Forest Service )

A lightning-sparked wildfire was raging out of control Monday evening in Kern County and had charred about 500 acres of brush and timber.

Authorities issued voluntary evacuation warnings for about 400 homes as the Shirley fire burned in a popular recreation area in the Sequoia National Forest.

The blaze was the largest of several fires ignited by lightning strikes Sunday night in the Kern River Valley in the southern Sierra Nevada, fire officials said. 

Thunderstorms continued to rumble across the area and other parts of Southern California on Monday. Southern California Edison said about 5,500 customers were without power Monday afternoon from Tulare County to San Bernardino County. Crews had responded to more than 300 incidents, the utility said.

On Monday evening, rain was falling in Kern County, helping crews hold the Shirley fire to 500 acres, the Kern County Fire Department said.

Earlier in the day, flames were being fanned by winds as they raged across dry fuels, according to the U.S. Forest Service. 

The blaze forced authorities to close Alder Creek Road and campground and Rancheria Road south of Highway 178, fire officials said.


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