French Fire: 25,871 acres burned, 47% containment

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The French Fire continues to burn in the mountains in the Kern River Valley as fire officials Thursday estimated it has scorched 25,871 acres and is at 47% containment.

Although there was no real growth around the fire, scattered heat remains within the perimeter. Moderate fire behavior with creeping, backing, and smoldering is expected, but containment lines continue to hold well.

Officials have lifted evacuation warnings for parts of Wofford Heights, Isabella highlands, Hungry Gulch, Dutch Flat, Highway 155 corridor from 178 north to Plater Road, Kernville and Riverkern. There were currently 945 people from Kern who were evacuated from their homes as of Monday.


How to help those affected by the French Fire

The French Fire began in a heavily wooded area in Wagy Flats on Aug. 18. Last week, 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.

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 1,600 firefighters from across the state have been called to fight the fire. At least one of them was injured during the firefight.

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.

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, Wagy Flat, Black Gulch, Keyesville north and south, areas east of Glennville and west of the forest boundary, general area east of Fulton Peak, general area east of Windmill Tree Peak.

Evacuation warnings:

Officials have lifted evacuation warnings for parts of Wofford Heights, Isabella highlands, Hungry Gulch, Dutch Flat, Highway 155 corridor from 178 north to Plater Road, Kernville and Riverkern.
An evacuation warning has been issued for Glenville, Linns Valley, Poso Flat and Badger Canyon areas.
Kern County Fire reduced orders to warnings for: parts of Wofford Heights, French Gulch areas.
In Wofford Heights: from Highway 155 east from Pala Drive; Highway 155 and Sawmill Road to Sawmill Road to 15th Street.

Evacuation centers:

The Red Cross says the Woodrow Wallace Elementary School has been transitioned to standby status.

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 a third evacuation center was on standby in Delano.

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:

RESOURCES

Kern County Fire provided information for community members returning to their homes and neighborhoods after being evacuated due to the French Fire. There are several upcoming virtual workshops for wildfire survivors.

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.

The Kernville Union School District announced Woodrow Wallace elementary and middle schools and KUSD Preschool would open on Aug. 30. Kernville Elementary School will remain closed. The district said the bus for Kernville Middle School students will run but a parent needs to be present to drop off students after school.

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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