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Plans constantly change as winds alter course of Stagecoach Fire

Posted at 5:12 PM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 21:11:08-04

The firefight is endless here on the ground as the aircraft circle above dropping phos-chek and water. Fire crews are still dealing with a myriad of factors while trying to contain this blaze. 23ABC's Bayan Wang is on the scene with the latest information.

Flames wouldn't let up overnight as the Stagecoach Fire continued to scorch dry vegetation south of Havilah.

"Right now they are dealing with a fire that is continuing to push and have a lot of very active fire behavior," explained Andrew Freeborn, public information officer for the Kern County Fire Department.

The inferno has destroyed two homes and prompted evacuations for about 200 residences in various areas including east and west of Caliente Bodfish Road near the Piute Meadows and north of Walker Basin Road.

"We were getting ready to go someplace and all of sudden the fire comes roaring over the hill. It was all good until it jumped over the road and shot up that way," said one resident.

The game plan for crews constantly altered as sustained winds and periodic gusts change the course of the battle.

"At one height might be blowing one direction, 20 to 40 feet in the air they're blowing another direction. It only takes a pine cone rolling out starting another spot fire or some of those embers to blow through the air and land in that receptive fuel bed," said Freeborn.

That fuel bed and the steep and unfavorable terrain make access points challenging for crews as the inferno has scorched portions of the Walker Basin the pass levels along Caliente Bodfish Road and the elevations above.

"This isn't just something that you can just come up to it and really quickly scratch a line around and the fires out and you move on," explained Freeborn.

Freeborn said the fire is blowing in a northeast direction east of Havilah but those winds can change course and create another blaze very quickly.