French Fire: Evacuation orders downgraded to warnings in some areas near Isabella Lake

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The French Fire continues to burn in the mountains in the Kern River Valley for a tenth day as fire officials expand evacuation warnings for mountain communities. The Red Cross said it will close the evacuation center in Delano due to no overnight stays, but it will remain on standby. The two other shelters remain open.

On Friday, officials downgraded evacuation orders to warnings for Hungry Gulch and Dutch Flats areas.


How to help those affected by the French Fire

The French Fire began in a heavily wooded area in Wagy Flats on Aug. 18, has burned 22,916 acres and is 19% contained. At a virtual meeting on Wednesday, officials announced the fire was determined to have been human-caused and was suspicious in nature. Anyone with information on the start of the fire is asked to email 2021.french@firenet.gov.

A firefighter was injured Wednesday and has been removed from work, Kern County fire spokesman Sean Collins said. The type of injury and its severity were unknown.

At least 18 structures have been destroyed, including nine homes, officials said.

The fire began just after 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 near Wagy Flat and Sawmill roads.

More than 1,300 firefighters from across the state have been called to fight the fire. State officials said 3,600 people have fled under evacuation orders.

EVACUATIONS

The Kern County Fire Department has provided a map for the French Fire and related evacuations. Click on this link to view it.

Evacuation orders:

Information via Ready Kern.

Wofford Heights, starting at Black Canyon Trail where it turns into Calgary Drive east to Burlando Road where it turns to Wofford Boulevard from the Sequoia Forest boundary south to Old State Road.
South of the Tulare County border on the west side, extending south to Rancheria Road and follows east to where it turns into Black Gulch, following Black Gulch where it goes south to Highway 178.
Sequoia Forest boundary to Black Mountain. East to Black Canyon Trail where it turns to Calgary Drive, north to the Sequoia Forest boundary.

Lake Isabella Reservoir and follows Highway 155 to Keyesville. Including communities of Pala Ranches, Shirley Meadows, Alta Sierra, Slick Rock, Isabella Highlands, Wagy Flat, Black Gulch, Keyesville north and south.

Evacuation warnings:

An evacuation warning has been issued for Kernville, Riverkern, Glenville, Linns Valley, Poso Flat and Badger Canyon areas.
Kern County Fire says the fire poses an imminent threat to Wofford Heights, Calgary Drive and Pala Ranches.
Kern County Fire reduced orders to warnings for: Dutch Flat, Hungry Gulch. French Gulch areas.

Evacuation centers:

The Red Cross has opened evacuation centers in Lake Isabella, one at Woodrow Wallace Elementary School at 3240 Erskine Creek Road and another at Kern River Valley High School at 3340 Erskine Creek Road. Volunteers will be on hand providing meals, emotional support and other resources, the Red Cross said.

The Red Cross said it will open a third evacuation center for residents affected by the French Fire in Delano. It will be at Pioneer Elementary School at 1001 Hiett Ave. They said it will open by 10 p.m. Thursday.

Residents going to the shelter are encouraged to bring any needed prescription and other medication, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents. Diapers, formulas and toys should be brought for children and infants.

Kern County Animal Services said residents who needed to evacuate and left animals behind, can contact the shelter to assist them and their pets. Call 661-868-7100.

Timelapse video of the French Fire as seen from Alta Sierra:

CLOSURES

Highway 155 is closed between Pascoe Road in Glenville to Highway 178 junction in Lake Isabella
Highway 155 closed at Sawmill Road and at Calgary Drive.
Rancheria Road at Poso Flat
Old State Road 1.4 miles west of Highway 155.
Burlando Road between Nellie Dent Drive to Highway 155
Wofford Heights roads north of Wofford Boulevard

The Kernville Union School District announced all schools in the district will be closed Wednesday through Friday due to the French Fire.

The Wofford Heights Post Office is closed temporarily due to the French Fire, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

U.S. Forest Service says the Upper Kern River Area and trails are closed.

Keysville Special Recreation Management Area is closed because of wildfire danger, the Bureau of Land Management said.

READY KERN

You can sign up to receive alerts and information from the county by signing up with Ready Kern. Click on this link to register for alerts.

Check back for updates.

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