WOFFORD HEIGHTS, CA - Kern County Sheriff's officials say 500 homes are being evacuated in the Wofford Heights area. They say the areas of mandatory evacuation are Pala Ranches, Juniper Highlands and Old State. Along with all residences between Old State Road and Evans Road on Highway 155. There are advisory evacuation in the Alta Sierra area.
The American Red Cross set up a shelter at the senior center on Lake Isabella Boulevard.Volunteers are providing lodging, food, comfort kits and more. Kern County Fire officials say there will also be representatives from animal control to assist families with small and large pets and animals.
Residents will be notified of evacuations through the Kern County Office of Emergency Services reverse 911 system. To sign up for the notice visit www.readykern.com.
As of Saturday evening, the fire burned 810 acres and is 5% contained. Fire officials say it's most active near the Rattlesnake Creek area, about one mile southwest of Wofford Heights. They say flames are visible from Wofford Heights.
The fire began around 5 p.m. Friday. Fire officials first reported about 15 acres burned. By Saturday afternoon, it grew to 500 acres.
Fire officials say shifting winds, high temperatures and low relative humidity pose a challenge.
"We have crews working very hard to continue to work on the containment. Right now we have 25 engines on the fire along with 15 crews, four helicopters, four airtankers and then we've actually ordered the V-Lat which is a very large airtanker also on order," said Brandon Hill, Kern County Fire Department.
Forest Service officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation and advise residents with health problems to stay indoors to avoid the smoke.
Fire officials say road closures are also in place along Rancheria Road, Wagy Flat and Old State Roads, along with areas of Sawmill Road.