USA — A new wildfire forced the evacuation of dozens of homes in a mountain community in central California, fire officials said.
According to the Kern County Fire Department, the so-called Deer Fire started to burn through dry grass, shrubs and timber on Friday afternoon, affecting about 1,800 acres of Bear Mountain.
“There is a ridge that the fire is working toward and we are working with great effort to keep it from that ridge. If it crests the ridge, it could change the whole dynamic,” Phil Neufield, Kern County Fire Department spokesman, toldReuters.
The fire threatened about 100 properties in Bear Valley Springs and had to be immediately evacuated. According to fire officials, the wildfire is still on its way to the steep terrain and putting more houses in immediate danger.
The wildfire was said to be fueled by dried-up trees in the area, high temperatures and winds. According to Reuters, fire officials were able to carve containment lines about 85 percent of the flame’s perimeter.
According to officials, two fire personnel reportedly suffered minor injuries while tackling the blaze, but no homes had been destroyed.
Drought-stricken California has been battling with wildfires since May. But a series of major fires over the past two weeks officially marked the beginning of an intense wildfire outbreak for this year.
Some 30 miles north, not far from where the Deer Fire is burning, a bigger, more devastating blaze has already killed two people and wreaked havoc to hundreds of properties.
The Erskine Fire near Lake Isabella has charred about 48,000 acres, destroyed at least 150 homes andleft two people dead in its wake.
The Deer and Erskine Fires are just two of 12 major wildfires burning across the state. In southern California, fires had burned 5,267 acres in the San Gabriel area, and 7,609 acres in San Diego County.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection urged residents to be cautious in using fireworks during the holiday weekend on July 4 as these may spark additional fires in the area.