Network of Wildfires Burns Through Central Calif.

Monday, 12 Sep 2011 06:43 AM

 

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A sprawling network of central California wildfires tore through thousands of rural acres and spurred some to leave their homes in mountain communities.

The lightning-sparked fires had consumed more than 30,000 acres, or over 40 square miles, across Kern County by Sunday night, county fire spokesman Dustin Allegranza. Crews were focusing on one major fire plus two fire complexes, made up of about eight smaller blazes.

The Milano Fire in a rural area near Walker Basin consumed 10,000 acres and moved into the Sequoia National Forest, Allegranza said. There was no containment.

A fire in the Keene Complex southeast of Bakersfield was threatening numerous structures. Residents in the communities of Keene, Hart Flat, Bear Valley, Golden Hills and Stallion Springs were being told that evacuations were recommended. Some people decided to leave, Allegranza said.

The three branches of the Keene complex burned a total of nearly 7,000 acres, and the complex was 60 percent contained.

The other, the Comanche Complex, burned more than 23,000 acres southwest of Bakersfield near the city of Arvin. Two of those fires were fully surrounded, one was 90 percent contained, one was 30 percent contained and one had no containment.

Water-dropping aircraft were making frequent runs over the flames, Allegranza said.

There were as many as 50 small fires started in Kern County on Saturday, after a series of fast-moving thunderstorms brought frequent lightning.

Lightning strikes also sparked about a dozen small fires in Northern California, including several in the San Francisco Bay area. A blaze near Contra Costa County's Mt. Diablo consumed about six acres of brush. No homes were threatened and no injuries were reported.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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