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New French Fire evacuation orders and warnings

French Fire Aug. 20 2021
Posted at 10:36 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-21 02:32:19-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — New evacuation orders are being issued Friday, as the flames continue to threaten homes and other structures. The latest update was 10,061 acres burned and 5% containment.

The French Fire continues to torch the forest landscape near Lake Isabella and according to the Kern County Fire Department’s estimation tripling in size. The latest land it has threatened is Alta Sierra.

“Right now, our priorities for the Kern County Fire Department and the incident in general is to protect life and property. And the crest of the ridge above the community, so we’ve had a lot of resources come into the community to try to prepare it for the fire.” Said Andrew Kennison, Division Chief of Kern County Fire Department.

Red Cross is moving their site from the Kern River Valley Senior Center to the Woodrow Wallace Elementary School in Lake Isabella in case they get a bunch of evacuees.

According to Ready Kern, areas under an evacuation order are; Waggy Flat Road East to Isabella Lake, between Old State Road South to Keyesville and Keyesville South, from the intersection of Black Gulch Road and Forest Route 26S06, continuing east to Highway 155.

Areas under evacuation warning are; Rancheria Road east to Wofford Blvd., between Highway 155 south to old state road, with the exception of Alta Sierra, which is now under an evacuation order and the Black Gulch area north of highway 178.

According to Ready Kern, Black Gulch residents are advised to plan accordingly because, Keyesville Road could be overcome by smoke and or fire and that could make it hard to get out of the area if they choose to leave.

If anyone in the evacuation warning and order areas need assistance with being evacuated, Ready Kern suggests calling Aging and Adult Services Hotline at 1-855-264-6565.

In an emergency, they say it’s best to call 911 but Tom Klein from Red Cross said don’t wait to evacuate.

“Don’t wait. Because the fire department is spread out thin,” said Klein. “And once they get the evacuation, they may not have the manpower to come in. Or it may not be safe for them to come in, if and when the danger gets too bad. So, get out now if you’ve been told to evacuate, get out now.”

Red Cross volunteers are not the only people in the area devoting their time to protect the community.

Volunteer with the Citizens of Emergency Response Team (CERT) Lyle Walker has been a in the emergency service Corp in Wofford Heights and Lake Isabella area since high school.

“I felt it would be for the best interest of communities where I live,” said Walker.

He said that CERT volunteers are currently on standby across the community, waiting to hear from the forest service or Kern County Sheriff’s Department if they need extra help for evacuating people, fire base operations, and resources for shelters.

Friday night, volunteers mainly assisting with the new evacuation center with setting up cots and providing water.

“Basically, it’s additional manpower,” said Walker.

Those fighting the fire can use all the help they can get.

“This area presents a lot of challenges for us, high winds, steep terrain, all the things that make fire control a challenge,” said Kennison.