Fire crews are on scene battling the Rancho Fire

Crews work on containing fire

BAKERSFIELD - UPDATE: Rancho Fire 56% Contained. 

Smoke conditions earlier made it extremely bad for people driving on I-5.

It forced crews to shut down lanes for a short period of time over the last 18 years.

Steve Hill has seen his share of fires.

"We're on the west side of the road so everybody is coming up the grapevine.  They will pull over to the side, and throw a cigarette out," he said.

His home is among the structures west of the Tejon Ranch area, which is being threaten by a fast moving brush fire.

"I've been down this road before a few times," he said.

Leaders with the Kern County Fire department say it has already burned 730-acres.

"We were standing out here working in the yard and I saw the smoke coming up and I called it in,” said Hill.

About 400 firefighters are on scene working to containing it.  They say the fire has already caused the evacuation of at least 23 homes.

"The terrain is not really too steep but it’s enough to where we're going to have crews going where engines aren't going to get up to," said Anthony Romero with the Kern County Fire Department.

Strike teams of type three engines were dispatched for structure protection.  An evacuation center is now open at Gorman School to help those displaced from the fire.

"We have a couple of air tankers, a couple of helicopters that are trying to fight this fire," he said.

Kern County Fire Fighters say it’s too early to tell how this brush fire was started and say it’s still under investigation lanes are open to traffic tonight.

Crews are using one of those lanes for fire trucks only.

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