Calgary Fire burns structures, threatens hundreds more in Wofford Heights

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - UPDATE, 11 a.m. Sunday:  The Calgary Fire is 40 percent contained and mandatory evacuations have been lifted, according to the Kern County Fire Department. Recommended evacuations are in place from Calgary Tracts and west of Sierra Vista Drive. So far, 29 evacuees have gone to the evacuation facility at the Kern River Valley Senior Center in Lake Isabella, officials said.

The county fire department posted an update on Twitter Sunday morning stating eight structures had been destroyed and containment was at 60 percent, but when asked for clarification, officials said the fire was at 40 percent containment and that they could not confirm the number of structures destroyed. The fire department later corrected the containment percentage in a follow-up tweet.

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The Calgary Fire is now 45 percent contained, according to the Kern County Fire Department.

The wildfire started around 1:15 p.m. Saturday in the area of Evans Road and Calgary Drive in Wofford Heights near Lake Isabella. 

More than 350 first responders battled the flames of the Calgary Fire as embers torched the wooded area and threatened hundreds of homes. 

High winds made it difficult for firefighters to battle the fire.

"There is some terrain driven fire but the wind is the most prevalent problem work we're facing right now," Amy Masi with U.S. Forest Service said. "We've had gusts of over 20 miles an hour."

Recommend evacuation orders were put in place for all residents in the area soon after the fire started.

"When I got the call it was recommended so that means it's the last call so we got out right away and came down here," Wofford Heights resident Doris Wahlstrom said. "The smoke was terrible. It was terrible. It was about two miles from us and the wind was coming directly at us and we had black ashes the size of a leaf in our yard flying everywhere so it was scary."

The American Red Cross set up an emergency safety shelter down the road at the Lake Isabella Senior Center for residents and their animals.

Wofford Heights resident Mayra John took her four chickens and two dogs to the shelter.

"It's great peace of mind. I didn't even know that the shelter was available because last year I just kept them in the car and just went to a friends house so I'm really glad to know that this year," John said.

The Sheriff's department lifted the evacuation order east of Sierra Vista Drive.  

Eavcuations orders are still in place for the areas west of Sierra Vista Drive in Wofford Heights.

Residents who've had to leave their homes can go to Lake Isabella Senior Center on Lake Isabella Boulevard.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Officials are looking for a car of interest. 

The car is a dark blue Chrysler Lebaron with the rear passenger wheel on its rim. 

If you see this car, you're encouraged to call 877-FIRE-TIP.


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