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Fire Near Bakersfield Prompts Hundreds To Evacuate

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View of the fire and the smoke it is putting off. (Credit: Kern River Valley Fire Info/Richard Cayia Rowe)

View of the fire and the smoke it is putting off. (Credit: Kern River Valley Fire Info/Richard Cayia Rowe)

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BAKERSFIELD (AP) – A smoky wildfire burning in southern California forced calls for the evacuation of some 500 homes, authorities said.

The Kern County Sheriff’s office said late Saturday night that the evacuation call was for parts of the Wofford Heights area, which is about 30 miles northeast of Bakersfield.

The blaze had grown to 810 acres by late Saturday night and was just 5 percent contained, federal fire officials said.

Flames were visible in Wofford Heights, which was about a mile north of where the blaze was most active.

The evacuations came after a day of changing conditions.

Firefighters were “basically facing very erratic, shifting winds,” Kern County Fire Department spokesman Leland Davis told The Associated Press. “We do try to strongly advise people to get out of the area.”

Davis said about 450 personnel are involved in fighting the blaze, which was spotted on Friday.

“It was in very remote area with some homes … kind of a popular recreation destination,” Davis said.

The officials warned that smoke could cause respiratory problems for some people in the area.

The Bakersfield Californian reported that at Cheryl’s Diner in Kernville, a few miles northeast of the fire, business went on as usual and was unaffected by the smoke.

Waitress Michelle Walker said that several firefighters came in throughout the day.

“It’s the talk of the whole valley,” Walker said of the wildfire.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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