BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern County Fire Department told 23ABC the fire has burned 3,223 acres including 16 structures, eight of those are residences. The extent of the damage is still to be determined.
For more than a day, the French Fire burned thousands of acres claiming structures and homes in its path.
Division chief with the Kern County Fire Department Bill Steers said it’s normal to have many fires in august but not like this.
“It’s untypical that we’ve had so many fires for so long into this fire season. It’s really putting a drain on the amount of resources that are available up and down the state, and putting a drain on the individuals and those fighting the fires,” said Steers.
Steers estimates 500 personnel on the ground to fight the French Fire and they’re not just from Kern County. Steers saying crews from the bureau land management, forest service, Cal Fire, Tulare County, LA County, and San Bernardino have come to help battle the blaze.
“With this type of fire, in the location that it is, steep, rough, rocky, not a lot of roads that we can utilize, we had a lot of active fire that was running very actively last night,” said Steers. “When it laid down through the evening, we were able to take advantage of that in the first parts of the morning and get some resources that started showing up, bolstered with a strike team from county resources, helped us to get some stuff established.”
Steers added fires crews utilizing aircraft to protect structures and will be doing so again Thursday night.
“It’s tough. It’s really tough to lose everything that you’ve worked for. Our sympathy all goes out to them,” said Steers. “We try, and crews do everything they can to save every structure. That’s what our job is and that’s why we come into work every day.”
Steers said that as of now there have been no lives lost to the French Fire.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross has set up an evacuation site at the Lake Isabella Senior Center. They have cots, food, bathrooms, and a safe shelter for those who have had to leave their homes.
Click here for a map of areas under evacuation warning and order due to the French Fire.