French Fire: 26,535 acres burned, 98% containment

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The French Fire continues to burn in the mountains in the Kern River Valley as fire officials estimate it has scorched 26,535 acres and is at 98% containment.

Fire officials estimate full containment will be reached by Saturday.

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.

The French Fire began in a heavily wooded area in Wagy Flats on Aug. 18. At a virtual meeting on Aug. 25, 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 were 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.

  • The communities of Keysville, Shirley Meadows, Alta Sierra, Slick Rock, Wagy Flat, Black Gulch and the area around Fulton Peak south of Windmill Tree Park — described as the ranch land area.

Evacuation centers:

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

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 to western Sequoia National Forest boundary.
  • Sawmill Road at the top of Sawmill Pass.
  • Old State Road at Dollar Road in Wofford Heights.
  • 24S15 at the Kern-Tulare county line
  • Roads west of Pala Ranches and all roads within areas under evacuation order

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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