June 25, 2016 – An explosive wildfire burning south of Sierra Nevada Mountains in California on Friday left two people dead during a terrible wildfire fighting conditions – dry, hot and rugged.
Dubbed as the Erskine fire, the wildfire started Thursday near Lake Isabella amid 90s temperatures and lack of humidity. Gradually, it ballooned from 5,000 to 30,000 acres by late night of Friday, according to the Bureau of Land Management of the Central California District.
As reported by the Kern County Fire Department, the fire had already consumed 100 houses and another 1,500 homes were at risk.
On Friday afternoon, the fire department finally announced that 2 people had unfortunately been killed during the wildfire yet no other details were released immediately.
Gov. Brown declared a state of emergency on Friday afternoon in Kern County so that other important resources could be sent there and funded. According to his statement, they join all Californians in expressing their gratitude to the emergency personnel, volunteers and courageous firefighters working tirelessly throughout Kern County just to help the residents as well as extinguish the fire.
According to the statement of Capt. Tyler Townsend of Kern County Fire Department, the destruction is just immeasurable and they’ve never been on a wild fire where they‘ve lost hundreds of homes. He has been in the area for almost a decade. Townsend also stated that some of the houses exploded and it can be heard even miles away.
Stifling heat and rugged terrain were acting as a great challenge to firefighters. Capt. Townsend said they have to strategically decide when to divert resources elsewhere and when to protect a house.
The National Interagency Fire Center reported that the toll of destroyed homes made the wildfire the most destructive calamity of the season. Nine communities were under obligatory evacuation orders and parts of Highway 178 were closed because of the fire.
According to officials of the county, more than eight hundred firefighters were assigned to the fire and there were more on the way to help combat the flames engulfing the ground, with helicopters and air tankers. It has been reported that 3 firefighters suffered injuries due to smoke inhalation.