A local resident said on Tuesday night, “We’ve been here for almost 9 years, so this isn’t new, but this is like the craziest one.”
These are just some of the emotions felt among residents as fire conditions grew worse Tuesday evening, sparking chaos in the Wofford Heights community. With winds quickly pushing flames down the hill.
Kern County Fire official, Sean Collins said, “It came out of the west and then it started pushing it (flames) in two directions. So it was spotted across highway 155 and became established Crean peak, and then also started coming down south toward the blvd.”
Prompting fire officials to rescue residents from their homes, with fire and sheriff personnel heavily engaged through the night. Collins said they received several 911 calls, before taking members of the community in their fire trucks away from the area.
Sean said “People were saying I'm at this address, I'm disabled, or I can't get out. We were taking a list of those addresses and then on the radio sending different people into those places to help them get out of area.”
Collins says life could be taken in a matter of seconds, depending on the fire behavior. Adding, “ With the wind behind it you cannot run fast enough to get out of the way of that fire or keep up with it. I mean we're talking fire traveling at 20, 30, 40 miles an hour and that’s how quickly it comes down. And particularly when It’s funneled down in a canyon, as this one is.”
But for some they say it's not that easy leaving a home with countless valuables and memories.
Local resident Robert Ziegler said, “You don’t want to stop.You want to keep on taking things. You know jewelry, pictures, memories of things. We'd like to take a lot more, but you got limits right?”
Ziegler's son, cutting a trip up north short to now help his dad evacuate days after being told to leave.
Ziegler saying, “We actually had it a few days ago, but we refused to leave. Because the fire wasn't so close but it's more imminent now. So we're making the decision to go make it over to the campsite.”