Erskine Fire Update; Fire now 40% contained

Posted at 10:12 AM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 15:05:31-04

Erskine Fire call center set up for citizens, call 661-873-2660. Open 8am-8pm.

  • Fire Start: June 23, 2016 Location: Lake Isabella
  • Cause: Under investigation
  • Size: 45,388 acres Percent Contained: 40%
  • Total Number of Personnel: 2,079
  • Costs to Date: $7.6 million Expected Containment: June 30, 2016
  • Unified Command: BLM, Kern County Fire Department, Kern County Sheriffs, USFS
  • Damaged Structures: 75
  • Destroyed Structures: 200

KCFD, KCSO, KC Health Department, Red Cross talk about updates on Erskine Fire



Officials said that the remains found over the weekend were animal remains, so there have only been two casualties in the Erskine Fire.

KCSO Public Information Officer Ray Pruitt said that a man was arrested over the weekend with two fire arms and was walking around the burned area.

Officials said that Sunday night was generally uneventful with very little fire activity. A glow from the fire was very visible on the north side, as the fire hit pockets of unburned fuel, however, the fire remains within the fire perimeter.

The words for today are “Hot and dry again." Above normal temperatures, poor overnight RH recovery and gusty winds on ridges and in canyons continue to challenge suppression forces. Today’s priority is on the south-south east areas of the fire. Weather predictions are for expected afternoon heating and wind. This area is also challenging for firefighters because of the steep and lack of access. Crews are prepared for the increased fire activity and the potential for the fire to make short runs.

Air support and retardant drops have been very effective in slowing down the fire’s spread; “buying time” for the firefighters on the ground to construct containment lines. A combination of direct and indirect suppression tactics are being used.

Yesterday a UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems), commonly referred to as “drones”, intrusion occurred over the Erskine Fire requiring air operations to be grounded for a period of time. All UAS, of any size or weight, are considered aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and are subject to FAA regulations. UAS may not be flown within a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) in pace under any circumstances without prior by FAA and the agency that requested the TFR

Two fatalities have been confirmed.

Road Closures:

Road closures in effect for Highway 178 at the following intersections; Kelso Creek, Sierra Way, Kelso Valley, Entrada and Lake Isabella and Kelso valley at Kelso Creek.

The Erskine Fire started on BLM managed public lands at the junction of Erskine Creek Rd. and Apollo Way at approximately 3:51 p.m., Thursday, June 23. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Evacuation Areas: Hwy 178 to Kelso Valley to Paiute, Bella Vista, South Fork, Weldon, Onyx, Lakeland Estates, Mountain Mesa, South Lake, Squirrel Valley, and Yankee Canyon. 

Shelters: The American Red Cross of Kern County has two shelters open for residents affected by the fire.

St. Jude's Catholic Church
86 Nellie Dent Dr.
Wofford Heights 

Kernville Elementary School
13350 Sierra Way

The Red Cross Safe & Well site is available for those looking for loved ones affected by evacuations:

Road Closures: Highway 178 is closed at Highway 155 and at Sierra Way. 

Recreation Closures: The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Walker Basin Campground to Jawbone Canyon Road. 

Damage Assessment: At least 250 structures have been destroyed and an additional 75 damaged. A damage inspection team is in the process of creating a comprehensive report documenting all structures damaged or destroyed.

The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Kern County Sheriffs Office and Kern County Fire District are in unified command. Many other agencies are assisting, including CAL FIRE, Red Cross, Caltrans, animal control, and law enforcement from local, county, state, and federal agencies.


Basic Information

Current as of

6/27/2016, 9:03:49 AM

Incident Type




Date of Origin

Thursday June 23rd, 2016 approx. 04:00 PM


Lake Isabella area, Kern County

Incident Commander

Bureau Of Land Management, USFS & Kern County

Current Situation

Total Personnel



45,388 Acres

Percent of Perimeter Contained


Estimated Containment Date

Thursday June 30th, 2016 approx. 12:00 AM

Fuels Involved

Brush and short grass

Significant Events

Fire exhibits uphill runs and backing down hills.


Planned Actions

Continue to prepare and protect threatened structures. Construct and improve containment lines.Mop up where it can be accomplished safely.

Projected Incident Activity

The fire is expected to remain active into the evening hours. Spotting is possible because of diurnal winds into the evening.


Road closures in effect for Highway 178 at the following intersections: Sierra Way, Kelso Valley, and Lake Isabella, and Kelso Valley at Kelso Creek are closed. Precautionary evacuation orders for Squirrel Valley, Mountain Mesa, South Lake, Lake Isabella (Erskine Creek area), and the Weldon area including Landers Meadow and Claraville.

Press conference will be held to day at Kern County Emergency Operations Center to discuss re-population plan of the non-fire impacted areas. Press conference to commence at 10 A.M. Located at 2601 Panorama Blvd, Bakersfield, CA 93306.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Areas of smoke; otherwise a few high clouds.

Temp: 93-100

RH: 8%-12%

Winds: Slope/Valley, 1-3 mph in the morning becoming upslope/upcanyon 2-5 mph by late morning, and from the W/SW 4-8 mph in the afternoon. Ridge tops: variable 3-6 mph in the morning becoming westerly 5-10 mph with gusts up to 15 mph in the afternoon.