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STARTING OVER: Sherwood fire burns hundreds of acres and an immigrant's family home

Kern County Fire responded to three times the number of vegetation fires in May 2024 compared to 2023
Posted at 5:17 PM, Jun 03, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Pablo Manturano says moving to the land off of Sherwood Avenue was a new start for his family, but that turned into starting over after the Sherwood fire burned hundred of acres and his home.

  • Video shows aftermath of the Sherwood fire.
  • The Kern County Fire Department reports in May 2023 the department fought three times the number of vegetation fires compared to 2023.
  • The fire ignited the day after he finished moving on May 10th, burning more than 350 acres of land.

The Sherwood fire burned 353 acres of land, leaving behind this charred field and one family without a home.
Before the fire, Pablo Manturano says moving from Bakersfield to this land off of Sherwood Avenue was a fresh start for him and his family.

"The situation is getting more and more difficult," Ma We came to the United States and Bakersfield alone, and we're living in a crisis."

Manturano, an immigrant from Peru, says living in the city got too expensive and the move would help minimize expenses.

The Sherwood fire ignited the day after he finished moving on May 10th, burning more than 350 acres of land.

"It's unrepairable because the flames took everything," Manturano said.

Manturano says this new 'start' has turned into a 'starting over' for the family.

"The hardest thing is to explain it to the kids," he tells me.

He worked around town doing construction and landscaping, adding he would pay his 18-year-old son who would buy collectible items.

"He told me, much later when I need money or want to study something, I will sell them," he said.

After losing everything Manturano's son will never get the chance to sell those collectibles and it makes work much harder for the family who tells me a 3-day job could now take as much as two weeks without their tools.

"Our hearts go out to anyone impacted by a disaster," Taylor Poisall with the American Red Cross said.

She advises families to pack a go-bag in case of an emergency with essentials, prepare an exit route, and stay informed with alerts like Ready Kern.

The Kern County Fire Department reports in May 2023 the department fought three times the number of vegetation fires compared to 2023.

In a partial statement to 23ABC Captain Andrew Freeborn says "To increase safety and survivability on your property preparation is key. The two most effective ways are through defensible space and home hardening."

But, if you're impacted by a wildfire, the American Red Cross can help.

"We have compassionate volunteers on the other end of the line who you can call to be able to see what's available to begin your path to recovery," Poisall said.

Manturano began his recovery, living in his truck, and rebuilding when he's not working.

"For me, this is something I've lived."

While he knows what it's like living with little, he says it's still hard and expects it to take years to fully recover.

"What we need is a little push because we are working," he said.

If you would like to help the Manturano family, you can find more information here.


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