advertisement

Fire at a glance (numbers)

  • Incident Name: French, Kern County
  • State: CA
  • Lead Agency: CND
  • Size (acres): 26,745
  • Percent Contained: 87%
  • Estimate of Containment: September 11, 2021
  • Personnel: 727
  • Structures Destroyed: 49

French, Central California District, BLM. IMT 2 (GB Team 6). Twenty-eight miles northeast of Bakersfield, CA. Chaparral and timber. Minimal fire behavior with isolated torching, flanking and backing. Area, road and trail closures in effect.

September 10, 2021 at 9:43 AM

Portions of the fire area received up to one-half inch of rain Thursday, which will aid with mop up and containment. There is a continued chance of thunderstorms today. Gusty, erratic winds and possible lightning are expected. Cooler temperatures and slightly higher relative humidity are expected on Saturday.

The only sections of the fire that remain uncontained are a rugged section around Black Mountain, where crews will monitor the fireline. Crews will continue monitoring, improving, and mopping up the containment line on the fire’s western side.

Firefighters will continue to patrol, mop up, and remove equipment around communities and infrastructure within the fire’s interior. Residents are advised to be cautious. Fire engines, water trucks, and utility vehicles will be on the roads.

Crews are also working at smoothing soil back over bulldozer fuelbreaks and other fireline repairs.

On Saturday, a local type 3 team will shadow with the Great Basin Incident Management Team 6 in anticipation of turning over management of the fire on Sunday.

September 9, 2021 at 9:59 AM

Great Basin Incident Management Team 6 is managing the fire and is coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management and Sequoia National Forest.

The California Highway Patrol is re-opening Highway 155 today at 9 am, from Wofford Heights to Glennville, due to increased fire containment. Also, the Kernville Airport has re-opened.

Firefighters will continue to patrol, mop up and remove equipment around communities and infrastructure within the fire’s interior. Residents are advised to be cautious. Fire engines, water trucks, and utility vehicles will be on the roads. Blocking the roads will inhibit personnel from getting work done.

Crews will continue monitoring, improving, and mopping up the containment line on the fire’s western side. There may be occasional smoke as interior pockets of fuel burn out.

Some sections of fireline near Black Mountain will be monitored from a distance because the area has steep, rocky cliffs and cannot be safely accessed. Crews are also beginning the process of smoothing soil back over bulldozer fuelbreaks and other fireline repairs.

Fuel conditions are at record dry levels. Very dry and warm conditions will continue. There will be a chance of dry thunderstorms today and tomorrow. Gusty, erratic winds and possible lightning are expected. Over the coming weekend, cooler temperatures and slightly higher relative humidity are forecasted.

September 8, 2021 at 9:38 AM

Today, Great Basin Incident Management Team 6 assumed command of the fire and is coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management and Sequoia National Forest.  

  • Tonight will be the last night shift, but firefighters will continue patrolling and mopping up around communities and infrastructure within the fire’s interior throughout the day. Residents are advised to be cautious. Fire engines, water trucks, and utility vehicles will be on the roads. Blocking the roads will inhibit personnel from getting work done.  
  • Crews will continue monitoring, improving, and mopping up the line on the fire’s western side. 
  • There is minimal fire activity on the north, east and south sides of the fire. Crews will continue to mop up and patrol the area and remove equipment. Some sections of line near Black Mountain will be monitored from a distance because the area has steep, rocky cliffs and cannot be safely accessed. Crews are also beginning the process of smoothing soil back over bulldozer fuelbreaks and other fireline repair. 
  • Very dry and warm conditions with low relative humidity will continue. There will be a slight chance of dry thunderstorms Thursday and Friday, bringing lower temperatures and a slight increase in humidity. Gusty, erratic winds are expected to accompany any thunderstorms. 

September 7, 2021 at 8:54 AM

A National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) Team is managing the fire, integrated with the Great Basin Incident Management Team 6 and coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management, Sequoia National Forest, and Kern County Fire Department in Unified Command. A transfer of command from the NIMO to Team 6 will occur on Wednesday, September 8. 

  • Residents are advised to be cautious. Fire engines, water trucks and utility vehicles will be on the roads. Blocking the roads will inhibit personnel from getting work done.  
  • The Structure Group is patrolling and mopping up around communities and infrastructure within the fire’s interior. 
  • Crews will work on monitoring and improving the line that was burned out Sunday, September 5, 2021. Crews with the support of aircraft will continue to improve handline north of Red Mountain from Bear Creek to Alder Creek. 
  • There is minimal fire activity on the north, east and south sides of the fire. Crews will continue to mop up and patrol the area and remove equipment. Some sections of line near Black Mountain will be monitored from a distance because the area has steep, rocky cliffs and cannot be safely accessed. 
  • Very dry and warm conditions with low relative humidity will continue. There will be a slight chance of dry thunderstorms Thursday and Friday. 

     Public and Firefighter Safety 

    Please be cautious of surrounding activities and potential hazards in and around the fire area. For information on returning home after the fire, visit Ready for Wildfire

     Road Closures:  

Highway 155 remains closed from the Glennville side of the western boundary of the Sequoia National Forest to Rancheria Road at the Greenhorn Summit. 

September 6, 2021 at 10:11 AM

A National Incident Management Team (NIMO) is managing the fire, integrated with Great Basin IMT 6 and coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management, Sequoia National Forest, and Kern County Fire Department in Unified Command.

Residents are advised to be cautious. Fire engines, water trucks and utility vehicles will be on the roads. Blocking the roads will inhibit personnel from getting work done.

The Structure Group is patrolling and mopping up around infrastructure within the fire’s interior, including Alta Sierra, Shirley Meadows, the Shirley Peak communication hub, and the Southern California Edison 66kV sub-transmission lines north of Hwy 155. These crews are also cutting down unsafe (hazard) trees and preparing the areas for residents to return.

Burnout operations were successful in Cedar Creek and Alder Creek yesterday. Smoke may still be visible today as crews work on securing the line and continue to mop up. Today, crews will continue to improve handline north of Red Mountain from Bear Creek to Alder Creek.

On the north side of the fire, crews continue to mop up, seeking out and eliminating any remaining heat sources that could threaten the containment line.

There is minimal fire activity on the east and south sides of the fire. Crews will continue to mop up and patrol the area. There are approximately 38 miles of fire hose that need to be removed.

Very dry and warm conditions with low relative humidity will continue.

Public and Firefighter Safety

Please be cautious of surrounding activities and potential hazards in and around the fire area; fire resources will be active in the area. For information on returning home after the fire, visit Ready for Wildfire.

Road Closures:

Highway 155 remains closed from the Glennville side of the western boundary of the Sequoia National Forest to Rancheria Rd at the Greenhorn Summit.

September 5, 2021 at 10:26 AM

A National Incident Management Team (NIMO) is managing the fire, integrated with Great Basin IMT 6 and coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management, Sequoia National Forest, and Kern County Fire Department in Unified Command. 

  • Smoke may be visible today as crews work to complete burnout operations in the Cedar Creek and Alder Creek area using a combination of ground and aerial resources.  Crews are constructing direct handline north of Red Mountain from Bear Creek to Alder Creek.  
  • On the north side of the fire, crews continue to mop up, seeking out and eliminating any remaining heat sources that could threaten the line.  
  • The Structure Group is patrolling and mopping up around infrastructure within the fire’s interior, including Alta Sierra, Shirley Meadows, the Shirley Peak communication hub, and the Southern California Edison 66kV sub-transmission lines north of Hwy 155. These crews are also cutting down unsafe (hazard) trees and preparing the areas for residents to return. 
  • Crews are successfully mopping up to the north from Basket Pass to Evans Meadow which allowed for an increase in containment in this area.  
  • The east side of the fire is looking very good. Crews will continue to mop up and patrol. 
  • Very dry conditions predicted into next week. Light terrain driven winds are expected each day, with westerly winds around 20 mph. Relative humidity will be in the teens during the day and recovery at night will be poor.  


Public and Firefighter Safety 
Please be cautious of surrounding activities and potential hazards in and around the fire area; fire resources will be active in the area. For information on returning home after the fire, visit Ready for Wildfire

Road Closures:  
Hwy 155 to western Sequoia National Forest boundary. Sawmill Road at the top of Sawmill Pass. Old State Road at Dollar Road in Wofford Heights. 24S15 at Kern/Tulare County Line. Roads west of Pala Ranches and all roads under the evacuation Order remain closed to the public. 

September 2, 2021 at 9:44 AM

Thursday, September 2, Great Basin Incident Management Team (IMT) 6 is shadowing California Interagency IMT 12. A National Incident Management Team (NIMO) is managing the fire, integrated with California Interagency IMT 12 and Great Basin IMT 6, and coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management, Sequoia National Forest, and Kern County Fire Department in Unified Command.

On the west side of the fire, the fire crews are conducting a defensive low intensity burning operation to reinforce the direct and indirect fireline. This means that as the fire approaches the line, they are burning off the fireline just ahead of the fire to keep a buffer between the fire and the line. Crews will continue to go direct on the fire’s edge when it is safe to do so and strengthen indirect lines where they cannot go direct.

On the north side of the fire, crews are finding less heat each day as they mop up along the fires edge and improve line. East of Black Mountain the fire has burned into a rocky area and it will take at least two more days of work to secure this line. The Structure Group is patrolling and mopping up around developments within the fire interior, including Alta Sierra, Shirley Meadows, the Shirley Peak communication hub, and the Southern California Edison 66kV sub-transmission lines north of State Route 155. These crews are also cutting unsafe (hazard) trees.

On the south side of the fire, crews successfully held the fire within the containment line at Basket Pass Road from north of Basket Pass to Evans Meadow. Significant progress has been made mopping up and securing these lines. Heavy equipment and crews are working on contingency lines in the area.

The east side of the fire is looking very good, and crews made good progress mopping up. Crews will continue to patrol and look for any heat that could threaten to cross the line. Please be cautious of surrounding activities and potential hazards in and around the fire area; fire resources will be active in the area.

Today will be less windy than yesterday. Relative humidity will drop to 15-20 percent. The winds will be 11-17 with gusts 21-27 mph from the west to the northwest. The trend of dry and breezy will continue through Saturday.

Road Closures:

Hwy 155 to western Sequoia National Forest boundary. Sawmill Road at the top of Sawmill Pass. Old State Road at Dollar Road in Wofford Heights. 24S15 at Kern/Tulare County Line.

August 31, 2021 at 9:05 AM

On Tuesday, August 31, at 6 a.m., the National Incident Management Team (NIMO) assumed command of the fire. The NIMO team will be integrated with the California Interagency Incident Management Team 12 for the remainder of their assignment.

The French Fire, started on Wednesday, August 18, west of Lake Isabella in Kern County, has now burned 25,643 acres with 40 percent containment. The fire is being managed by California Interagency Incident Management Team 12, coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management, Sequoia National Forest, and Kern County Fire Department in Unified Command.

● On Monday, August 30, most of the fire growth occurred on the northwest side, where there was increased activity from previous days. This activity is not a threat to the control of the fire. On Tuesday, crews will continue to construct direct line where possible and continue work on multiple indirect and contingency lines.

● The north side of the fire saw little or no growth yesterday and where most of the additional containment has been achieved. Firefighters are working on locating and lining any remaining spot fires with support from aircraft and strengthening the handline east of Black Mountain. The Structure Group is patrolling and mopping up around developments within the fire interior, including Alta Sierra, Shirley Meadows, the Shirley Peak communication hub, and the Southern California Edison 66kV sub-transmission lines north of State Route 155. These crews are also cutting unsafe (hazard) trees.

● On the south side of the fire, crews successfully held the fire within the containment line at Basket Pass Road from north of Basket Pass to Evans Meadow. A small spot fire occurred near Evans Meadow but was quickly addressed by firefighters. Heavy equipment and crews are working on contingency lines in the area.

● The east side of the fire remained quiet throughout the day and crews made good progress mopping up. This has allowed residents to return to Pala Ranches. Residents will see smoke in the fire’s interior. Please be cautious of surrounding activities and potential hazards in and around the fire area; fire resources will be active in the area.

● Tuesday will be dry and windy with near critical fire weather conditions. Westerly winds will be 15-20 with gusts 30-35 mph. These elevated fire conditions will be present through at least Wednesday.

August 30, 2021 at 9:40 AM

The French Fire, started on Wednesday, August 18, west of Lake Isabella in Kern County, has now burned 25,264 acres with 26 percent containment. The fire is being managed by California Interagency Incident Management Team 12, coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management, Sequoia National Forest, and Kern County Fire Department in Unified Command.

• Yesterday the fire was very active and spotting around Evans Flat area. The firefighters successfully held the fire along the Basket Pass Road. Direct handline was completed from Rancheria Road to Basket Pass Road. Heavy equipment is also working on contingency lines. For Monday, active fire behavior is likely in this area due to the challenging terrain and predicted winds.

• On the north side of the fire there was very little growth yesterday. Firefighters with support from aircraft have been working to put out spot fires and have tied handline and dozer line into the rocks at Black Mountain. Structure defense remains for resources in the immediate area, including the Shirley Peak communication hub and the Southern California Edison 66kV sub-transmission lines north of State Route 155.

• Along the northwest side, spot fires from the previous days grew together, putting up a lot of smoke. Mop up and scouting for direct and indirect line is occurring today. The fire continues to back slowly into Alder Creek, Cedar Creek against the wind and the indirect dozer line is progressing well in this area. Crews are scouting for opportunities to go direct.

• The east side of the fire remained quiet throughout the day and crews made good progress mopping up. This has allowed for some containment to be made around Alta Sierra. Residents will see smoke in the fire’s interior as crews mop up and monitor the fire activity. Please be cautious of surrounding activities and potential hazards in and around the fire area; fire resources will be active in the area.

• Monday will be hot and dry, with temperatures in the upper 90s and humidity in the teens. Winds will be light and out of the west this morning, switching to the northwest this afternoon and strengthening. Ridge-top gusts will be 18-24 mph. Gusty down-canyon winds may develop on the east side of the fire. Slightly higher humidity may arrive mid-week.

Fire Closures:

The BLM has temporarily closed the Keysville Special Recreation Management Area to all public access due to wildland fire danger.

Sequoia National Forest Fire Area Closure Orders:

Forest Order 0513-21-25 French Fire area Roads and Trails Closure and Map and Forest Order 0513-21-26 Upper Kern Area and Trails Closure and Map. To protect visitors, mountain communities, staff and firefighters, Forest Orders 0513-21-25/26 were issued, Saturday, August 21 and Friday, August 27. Please view the full orders with exhibits and maps for more information.

Fire Restrictions:

Public lands managed by the Sequoia National Forest and the BLM Bakersfield Field Office are under Fire Restrictions at this time. The use of propane stoves with an on/off switch is permitted, but campfires are not allowed.

French Fire – UPDATE #17 – SOME Evacuation WARNINGS have been LIFTED

August 29, 2021 at 9:37 AM

The southwestern area of the fire continues to be active, backing down the Basket Pass Road, filling in Little Poso Creek yesterday. Crews and engines are working to hold the fire along Basket Pass Road and Rancheria Road. Active fire behavior is likely in Evans Flat today due to the challenging terrain and predicted winds.

The west side of the fire experienced little growth yesterday. Moving north, the fire continues to back very slowly. Firefighters with support from aircraft have been working spot fires and have tied handline and dozer line into the rocks at Black Mountain. Structure defense remains for resources in the immediate area, including the Shirley Peak communication hub and the Southern California Edison 66kV sub-transmission lines north of State Route 155.

The east side of the fire remained relatively quiet throughout the day and crews were able to get some good depth in mopping up, allowing the evacuation order impacting the Isabella Heights and Wofford Heights communities to be downgraded to an Evacuation Warning. Residents will see smoke in the fire’s interior as crews continue to mop up and monitor the fire activity. Please be cautious of surrounding activities and potential hazards in and around the fire area; fire resources will be active in the area.

Winds were lighter yesterday with slightly better humidity recoveries overnight. Relative humidity as of this morning is sitting at 25-30 percent. High temperatures will climb to near 100 degrees at the lower elevations and afternoon humidity will be around 10 percent. Afternoon winds will generally be from the west, moving to blow from the northwest by the afternoon, with gusts at 15-20 mph.

Fire Closures:

The BLM has temporarily closed the Keysville Special Recreation Management Area to all public access due to wildland fire danger.

This is an update to previous ReadyKern messages concerning the French Fire in the Kern River Valley. The Evacuation WARNINGS that affected the communities of Kernville and Riverkern have been LIFTED.

The area from Sierra way from the county line south through Riverkern to Kernville is now out of the evacuation warning area. Also, the area from Kernville south on Kernville Rd. to Plater Rd. is also out of the evacuation warning area.

An Evacuation Order is a lawful order to leave now and seek shelter away from the fire area. The area is lawfully closed to public access. An

Evacuation Order will likely be the last order given. Evacuation Orders in effect:

• Keysville

• Pala Ranches

• Shirley Meadows

• Alta Sierra

• Slick Rock

• Wagy Flat

• Black Gulch

• Highway 155 from Forest Boundary west to Green Glen Drive and 1.5 miles south to the northwest corner of Township 25s Range 31E section 33;(in the general area east of Fulton Peak). Continuing 1.5 miles west to the Whitemill Road area, and 4 miles south to the area east of Windmill Tree Peak. Continue 2 miles east to the Forest Boundary. This area includes the ranch lands east and south of Glennville. Please click the link below for the interactive map of the affected area.

Road Closures: Hwy 155 west of Wofford Heights to Slick Rock. Sawmill Road at the top of Sawmill Pass. Old State Road in Wofford Heights

EVACUATION WARNING:

An Evacuation Warning means that all residents are advised to be prepared to leave the area at a moment’s notice if it becomes necessary. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock, should leave now.

• The communities of Wofford Heights, Isabella Highlands, Hungry Gulch and Dutch Flat

• From the forest boundary west to Jack Ranch Road at the Tulare and Kern county line continuing south on Jack Ranch Road turning into highway 155 and continuing west to Granite Road. South on Granite Road to Poso Flat Road. Granite and Poso Flat, due south for 11 miles to the forest boundary located in the south west corner of township 28S Range 30E section 19. Please click the link below for the interactive map of the affected area

The previous EVACUATION ORDERS and EVACUATION WARNINGS remain in effect. There will be no escorts provided by Law Enforcement, Fire Personnel, or Forest Personnel. You can search your address in the French Fire Interactive Evacuation Map posted at https://bit.ly/38jmW6S.

Evacuation Centers:

  • Woodrow Wallace Elementary School, 3240 Erskine Creek Road, Lake Isabella.
  • Kern Valley High School, 3340 Erskine Creek Road, Lake Isabella

Animal Services will assist with sheltering companion animals at the center. If you have physical limitations and require evacuation assistance, please call the Aging & Adult Services hotline at 1- 855-264-6565. If you have an emergency, call 911. If you have any questions about the content of this message, please contact Kern County Information and Referral Services at 2-1-1. Thank you.

August 28, 2021 at 10:42 AM

Due to internet connectivity issues last night, there will be a follow-up virtual public meeting this evening, Saturday, August 28, at 6 p.m., streamed on the Sequoia National Forest and shared on Kern County Fire Department and the Bureau of Land Managements’ (California) Facebook sites. For those who cannot join during the live stream, the meeting will remain available through the agencies’ Facebook sites.

The French Fire, started on Wednesday, August 18, west of Lake Isabella in Kern County, has now burned 23,764 acres with 22 percent containment. The fire is being managed by California Interagency Incident Management Team 12, coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management, Sequoia National Forest, and Kern County Fire Department in Unified Command.

• The southeastern edge of the fire near Dutch Flat and along Borderline Road has continued to stay within existing lines, allowing the evacuation order impacting the Dutch Flat, French Gulch, and Achin Hills communities to be downgraded to an Evacuation Warning. Crews continue to mop up and monitor the fire activity along Rancheria Road. Please be cautious of surrounding activities and potential hazards in and around the fire area; fire resources will be active in the area.

• Most of the smoke production on Friday came from the Basket Ridge area to the east of Rancheria Road, where crews worked a spot fires with support from aircraft. Crews continue to look for opportunities to tie in line, coming down from the fire’s northern edge to the western edge into the Red Mountain area.

• The fire remains active on the north side threatening communities and associated values at risk in the immediate area, including the Shirley Peak communication hub and the Southern California Edison 66kV sub-transmission lines north of State Route 155. Structure defense is in place and crews were able strengthen handline and dozer line in the Black Mountain area.

• Firefighters were able to complete a 15,000 ft hose lay off State Route 155 to the south towards Pala Ranches and Wofford Heights.

• Fire in the southwestern area is currently at Rancheria/Sawmill Road junction, but it could reach the Whites Mill Road later tonight.

• Strengthening high pressure will bring hotter and very dry conditions to the fire Saturday. High temperatures will climb to near 100 degrees at the lower elevations and afternoon humidity will be around 10 percent. Afternoon winds will generally be from the west, with gusts into the 15-25 mph.

Fire Closures:

The BLM has temporarily closed the Keysville Special Recreation Management Area to all public access due to wildland fire danger.

August 27, 2021 at 10:14 AM

The fire remains active on the north side threatening communities and associated values at risk in the immediate area: including the Shirley Peak communication hub and the Southern California Edison 66kV sub-transmission lines north of State Route 155. Structure defense is in place.

Fire in the southwestern area is currently at Rancheria/Sawmill Road junction, but could reach the Whites Mill Road by later tonight.

Relative humidity predicted to be 13-19 percent after 9 p.m. West winds predicted to be 9-15 mph gusting to 25 mph through 8 p.m. This could extend the burn period deeper into the night/early morning. Predicted single digit relative humidity will contribute to a longer burning period. Humidity may remain below 20 percent in this area throughout. Temperatures will be at or above 100 degrees in the lower elevations.

The damage inspection team was out doing assessments of properties and structures within Alta Sierra, and Pala Ranches communities. This process can take some time, as active fire and other hazards present a danger to the team working on the assessment. Once the information is collected, the appropriate authorities will validate it, and notifications will be made to property owners.

August 27, 2021 at 8:20 AM

The fire is exhibiting extreme fire behavior due to dry fuel conditions, gusty winds and long-range spot fires. It is being managed under Unified Command with Kern County Fire Department and a Type 2 Incident Management Team.

Evacuation Order In Effect. Visit Kern County Fire Department site for interactive evacuation zone map: https://bit.ly/38jmW6S

ROADS AND TRAILS CLOSURE (FOREST ORDER NO. 0513-21-25): Sequoia National Forest – Kern River and Western Divide Ranger Districts French Fire Area.

UPPER KERN RIVER AREA AND TRAILS CLOSURE (FOREST ORDER NO: 0513-21-26): Sequoia National Forest – Kern River Ranger District

EMERGENCY CLOSURE OF The Keysville Special Recreation Management Area.

Strengthening high pressure will bring hot and very dry conditions to the fire on Friday. Single digit humidity with high temperatures near 100 degrees is forecast at lower elevations. Another round of west to southwest winds is expected, with afternoon gusts above 20 mph possible. In addition, dry and unstable conditions will lead to a Haines of 5.

August 26, 2021 at 9:29 AM

On Wednesday, August 25, crews were able to continue the hard work from the night prior in the Alta Sierra, Pala Ranches, and Wofford Heights’ communities, directly engaging the fire and were successful at corralling the fire to the west of the Cane Peak Ct area. Fire crews are making good progress in securing the fire from Highway 155 (Evans Road) to the 2014 Shirley Fire footprint. Crews, engines and helicopters remain focused on structure protection and continue working day and night.

The work in the Dutch Meadow and Hungry Gulch areas continue to hold along the southeastern edge of the fire. There are still evacuation orders and road closures in place for those communities since crews and equipment specialist are working to make sure it’s safe to repopulate. Crews continue to improve existing containment lines in case wind shifts out of the northwest incur and push the fire to the southeast. The fire team has prepared an additional camp in Glenville and provided resources on the west side of the fire to keep it from progressing towards that community. There are already alternate containment lines on the west of the fire along White Mill Road, towards Fulton Creek.

There is a team in place to assess structure and property damage. This process will take time, as there is still active fire that presents a danger to the personnel working on the assessment. Once the information is collected, the appropriate authorities will validate it, and notifications will be made to property owners.

Poor humidity recoveries occurred tonight at all elevations, with breezy west to northwest winds persisting through midnight. On Thursday, August 26, warm temperatures, along with another round of very dry conditions, is forecasted for later. High temperatures will climb at or above 100 degrees at the lower elevations with afternoon humidity dropping to near 10 percent. During the afternoon hours breezy down canyon winds will set up once again within the canyons that drain into Lake Isabella. In addition, dry and unstable conditions will lead to a Haines of 5.

Due to the recent days of fire activity and to support future fire suppression efforts, as well as for the safety of the community and firefighters, the following ORDERS and WARNINGS are in effect:

EVACUATION ORDERS:

Wofford Heights East. All of Wofford Heights is now in an EVACUATION ORDER.

Keyesville North. All of Keysville is now in an EVACUATION ORDER.

All other previous EVACUATION ORDERS remain in effect.

Hwy 155 (also known as: Burlando Road, Wofford Blvd.) is closed from Plater Road south to Hwy 178.

An Evacuation Order means that the French Fire is an immediate threat to life. An Evacuation Order is a lawful order to leave now and seek shelter away from the fire area. The area is lawfully closed to public access. An Evacuation Order will likely be the last order given.

EVACUATION WARNING:

All of Kernville on both sides of the Kern River continue to remain in an EVACUATION WARNING. Last evening’s ReadyKern message identified only the areas of Kernville west of the Kern River.

The community of Riverkern near the Kern-Tulare County border is now in an EVACUATION WARNING.

An Evacuation Warning means that the French Fire is a potential threat to life and/or property, and all residents are advised to be prepared to leave the area at a moment’s notice if it becomes necessary. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock, should leave now.

The previous EVACUATION ORDERS and EVACUATION WARNINGS remain in effect.

There will be no escorts provided by Law Enforcement, Fire Personnel, or Forest Personnel.

You can search your address in the French Fire Interactive Evacuation Map posted at kerncountyfire.org.

The evacuation center is located at Woodrow Wallace Elementary School, 3240 Erskine Creek Road, Lake Isabella. Animal Services will assist with sheltering companion animals at the center.

If you have physical limitations and require evacuation assistance, please call the Aging & Adult Services hotline at 1-855-264-6565.

If you have an emergency, call 911. If you have any questions about the content of this message, please contact Kern County Information and Referral Services at 2-1-1. Thank you.

August 25, 2021 at 9:59 AM

There will be a virtual public meeting tonight, Wednesday, August 25, at 6 p.m., streamed on the Sequoia National Forest Facebook page and shared through Kern County Fire Department’s Facebook page. If you are cannot join, the meeting will be posted to the Sequoia National Forest, Kern County Fire Department , and the Bureau of Land Management (California) Facebook sites.

The French Fire, started on Wednesday, August 18, west of Lake Isabella in Kern County, has now burned 20,678 acres with 19 percent containment. The fire is being managed by California Interagency Incident Management Team 12, coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management, Sequoia National Forest, and Kern County Fire Department in Unified Command.

On Tuesday, August 24, fire activity on the north side increased in the afternoon and continued through the evening. Wind and terrain aligned, allowing the fire to make several uphill runs in the Alta Sierra, Shirley Creek, Ice House Creek, and Cane Creek areas. The fire pushed east towards Pala Ranches and Wofford Heights. Fire crews shifted to rapid rescue in Alta Sierra and Wofford Heights since several residents were still present. Fire engine personnel and helicopters focused on structure protection.

There is a team in place to assess structure and property damage. This process will take time, as there is still active fire that presents a danger to the personnel working on the assessment. Once the information is collected, the appropriate authorities will validate it, and notifications will be made to property owners.

Today will bring slightly windier conditions to the area starting with the southwest winds and moving to a northwest wind with gusts above 25 mph. Humidity is at 10 percent or lower throughout the day. The Alta Sierra and Shirley Meadows areas have not experienced fire for several years, which adds to the drought-stressed, bug-killed fuels and weather conditions assisting with the fire spread.

August 24, 2021 at 9:38 AM

On Monday, August 23, fire activity in the Shirley Peak area and Alta Sierra areas increased and crews successfully did a firing operation to help join up Rancheria Road (Forest Road No. 25S15) as a containment line. That was done to protect Alta Sierra and to keep the fire west of Rancheria Road. Night flying aircraft were utilized to assist with the firing operations and additional night operations around the fire.

Fire crews constructed handline near Wagy Flat Road (Forest Road No. 25S02) to hold the fire and connect to a previous control line. Crews were also successful in building handline from the Sawmill Road (Forest Road No. 26S03) break to the division break one-mile south of Wagy Flat. On Tuesday, fire crews will continue to mop up in those areas and focus on protecting the structures off the Sawmill Road.

The local area will experience repeat weather conditions on Tuesday that are warm and dry, with relative humidity in the teens. The morning hours will have a light southeast wind that will become breezier and come out of the west around 3 p.m., with gusts of 20 mph. The Alta Sierra and Shirley Meadows areas have not experienced fire for several years, which adds to the drought-stressed, bug-killed fuels and weather conditions that are assisting with the fire spread.

August 23, 2021 at 11:34 AM

The French Fire, started on August 18, west of Lake Isabella in Kern County, has now burned 14,773 acres with 15 percent containment. The fire is being managed by California Interagency Incident Management Team 12, coordinating closely with the Bureau of Land Management, Sequoia National Forest and Kern County Fire Department in Unified Command.

On Sunday, Aug. 22, fire crews constructed a handline near Wagy Flat Road (Forest Road No. 25S02) to hold the fire and connect into a previous controlled line. Crews were also successful continuing handline from the Sawmill Road break to the division break that is one mile south of Wagy Flat. Today, crews will continue to mop up in those areas and pay close attention to the structures off the Sawmill Road.

Further west, towards Rancheria Road (Forest Road No. 25S15), there was some fire growth and fire crews successfully used dozers and hand crews to catch the smaller spot fire slopped over onto Borderline Road. On Monday, crews will work towards Rancheria Road constructing direct line with a strong probability they can get up to Rancheria Road within the upcoming days.

Communities near Shirley Peak experienced increased fire activity that produced lots of smoke from flanking, backing fire and isolated runs. Shirley Meadows also experienced increased fire activity and crews successfully kept the fire south of Old State Road. On Monday, crews and engines will continue working on control lines on Old State Road with the objective of linking in with the spot fire in Alta Sierra.

On Sunday evening, fire activity in the Shirley Peak area and Alta Sierra had increased and crews were successful in doing a late-night firing operation. That was done to protect Alta Sierra and to keep the fire west of Rancheria Road. Night flying aircraft was utilized to assist with the firing operations and additional night operations around the fire.

Weather:

Today, weather conditions will be warmer and drier than yesterday, and relative humidity is expected to drop in the teens. The morning will show light southeast wind that will become more breezy and more westerly around 3 p.m.

The following Evacuation Orders are in effect:

Wofford Heights is on an Evacuation Order, starting at Black Canyon Trail where it turns into Calgary Drive east to Burlando Road where it turns into Wofford Boulevard from the Sequoia Forest Boundary south to Old State Road. Starting south of the Tulare County border on the west side, extending south to Rancheria Road and follows east to where it turns into Black Gulch. Following Black Gulch where it goes south to 178. Sequoia Forest boundary to Black Mountain is now a part of the evacuation order. East to Black Canyon Trail where it turns into Calgary Drive, north to the Sequoia Forest Boundary. The Evacuation Order extends to Lake Isabella Reservoir and follows Highway 155 to Keysville South. This order includes the following communities: Pala Ranches, Shirley Meadows, Alta Sierra, Slick Rock, Dutch Flat, Isabella Highlands, Wagy Flat, Black Gulch, and Keysville North and South.

An Evacuation Order means that the French Fire is an immediate threat to life. An Evacuation Order is a lawful order to leave now and seek shelter away from the fire area. The area is lawfully closed to public access. An Evacuation Order will likely be the last order given. Please Note: The evacuation center is located at Woodrow Wallace Elementary School, 3240 Erskine Creek Road, Lake Isabella. Animal Services will assist with shelter companion animals at the center.