NewsLocal News


Families are devastated as they leave their homes due to the French Fire

French Fire 3 Aug. 20 2021
Posted at 1:53 AM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 04:53:23-04

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KERO) — The French Fire continues to devastate communities near Lake Isabella. New growth Sunday forced more evacuation orders. Monday, displaced families are waiting on word from Kern County fire officials.

There is a lot of devastation in Kern County due to the French fire. Fire crews are working around the clock.

Smoke fills the air, animals are running through these streets, and people are fleeing the area as flames continue to consume properties.

“People who lost their home are the ones who say it's not gonna happen to me. I'll be okay. And then before they know it, it's just gone,” said Marjorie Manning, a resident.

Manning is speaking from experience.

“We didn't have any forewarning. It just came down and we lost everything,” said Manning.

Manning and her now late husband lost their home in the Erskine Fire that burned over 47 thousand acres of land in the Lake Isabella area; destroying hundreds of homes back in 2016.

“It hurt. But what my husband and I said. We can rebuild. We can start over again. We didn't give up on it.”

But now years later manning found herself in a similar position when the French Fire broke out just last week, forcing her to evacuate from that same property. She left her home with just a few items.

“My cats’ cremation it was right there in the hutch with a picture of my husband. I took that and that. And a picture of both of us together,” said manning.

Manning also took her household pets along with her to a local evacuation site where another family faced the same outcome.

"I'm very scared of this fire,” said Lilly. Mullinax.
“It's scary. It really is,” said Dan Mullinax.

The Mullinax couple moved to Wofford heights three months ago coming from Georgia. Where they're used to seeing tornados. Now they must evacuate their new home due to the California wildfires.

“Seeing one on tv or seeing it up close unless you have a home, you don't really think about it. But when you have a home that's in danger you really think about it" Mullinax added.

The area has been the sight of past wildfires. Kern County Fire officials said while the crew’s efforts at containing flames haven’t changed, this scene presents new challenges.

“In this area, there's a lot of forestries. There's a lot of bigger trees. More on the Erskine it was a little more open canopy a little more grass. It carried very quickly, and it got into the homes and was being pushed by embers and 50-70 mph winds,” said Kern County Fire official Sean Collins.

Collins said mother nature plays a huge role when it comes to the fire’s growth and containment efforts.

“When it's in our favor we can work with it to protect the homes and put the fire out. When it's against us there's not much we can do until it calms down,” said Collins.

Collins added that fire conditions worked in their favor on Monday evening allowing them to gain some containment. But, until it’s fully under control residents urge their neighbors to get out if under an evacuation order. Manning left one last message to the community.

"Bless all of you. Just take care of each other. Okay? Thank you," said Manning.