California fire grows to 2,200 acres, hundreds evacuated from area

1,000 homes threatened by Shirley fire

A fire in California being called the Shirley Fire had grown to 2,200 acres as of 7:55 a.m. Monday with 10 percent contained, according to the Sequoia National Forest Service. 

Officials said the fire grew to the north and the east from Sunday night. Water drops overnight helped slow the growth.

Cindy Thill, a Forest Service spokesperson told RTV6 sister station 23ABC two homes were lost and one is damaged, while 1,000 more continue to be threatened.

More than 500 homes were evacuated Saturday night in response to the Shirley Fire, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Office. 

Authorities say residents in Pala Ranches, Juniper Highlands and homes between Old State Road and Evans Road on State Highway 155 are under a mandatory evacuation order. An advisory order is in place for the Alta Sierra area. 

Housing for evacuees and their pets, preferably small animals, is being provided at the Kern River Valley Senior Center, 6405 Lake Isabella Boulevard. On Saturday night, the center housed 33 evacuees.

PHOTOS | Latest pictures of the Shirely Fire

The Red Cross is currently working to on a large animal evacuation location, and anyone with the need to evacuate with a large animal is asked to visit the Kern Rivery Valley Senior Center.  

More than 1,100 firefighters are working to contain the fire.

According to the KCFD, some of the challenges facing the firefighters are shifting winds, high temperatures and very dry conditions.

Several road closures have been ordered for the area.

The U.S. Forest Service said that residents, owners and lessees of property are exempt from the closures, as long as the closure does not fall within an evacuation area. The road closures listed above remain on effect until through June 30. 

Heavy smoke is drifting all around the Kern River Valley and residents with health problems are asked to stay indoors and out of the smoke.

Prolonged drought and dry fuel conditions influenced fire behavior, which burned actively Saturday night in the Rattlesnake Creek drainage area, about a mile from Wofford Heights. The fire is also being pushed by a westerly wind and is influenced by the topography in the area, with conifers in the higher elevations and grass in the lower areas. 

The Kern County Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management said in a statement that the fire developed after vegetation in the area caught fire south of highway 155 and west of the community of Alta Sierra and south of Shirley Meadows on Rancheria Road, about 45 minutes northeast of Bakersfield at around 5 p.m. on Friday, June 13.

The U.S. Forest Service also stated that the majority of the recreation in the Kern River Ranger District and the vicinity are unaffected by the fire activity and remain open. Motorists are encouraged to exercise extreme caution when driving in the area due to firefighters and equipment.

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