Weekly Highlights

Sunday, Sep 04 2011 08:32 PM

Firefighters battle Canyon Fire

Related Photos

A plane crash touched off the Canyon Fire at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 4. By 5 p.m. the fire had grown to more than 1,000 acres and was burning out of control in the mountains south of the City of Tehachapi. Photo by Nick Smirnoff

As the Canyon Fire grew, a huge cloud of smoke could be seen from throughout the Tehachapi Valley. This scene is from Mill Street with the nearly-complete Village Apartments in the foreground. Photo by Nick Smirnoff.

Firefighters move onto the Old West Ranch mid-afternoon Sunday, Sept. 4. The Canyon Fire started near the area where the West Fire of 2010 consumed more than 1,600 acres and destroyed 21 homes.

Aircraft were pulled off the Canyon Fire at 7:50 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4, leaving the fire to hand crews as evacuation of the area south of Highline between Dennison Road and Tucker Road was progressing.

Firefighting units from throughout the state are arriving and being assigned to structure protection as residents of areas near the fire are evacuating, many with horse trailers and personal belongings.
Area residents  residents gathered in their yards and along roadways to watch with the fire and smoke easily visible from town and reportedly growing on at least two fronts.

At 5 p.m. the Kern County Fire Dept. reported the fire had grown to more than 1,000 acres.
The fire started at about 11:30 a.m. when a small plane crashed on the Old West Ranch, location of the devastating 2010 West Fire.

An unofficial, but reliable, report is that two men died in the plane crash.  With rugged terrain, dense dry brush and erratic winds, firefighters knew early on that the Canyon Fire had the potential to grow quickly and firefighting resources were ordered from around the state. Earlier in the afternoon a firefighting helicopter made what was described as a "hard landing." The helicopter was taken out of commission but reportedly there were no related injuries.

With darkness, the aircraft are off the fire, but the work of hand crews — and units assigned to structure protection — will continue through the night.
The Salvation Army set up an assistance center at the command center on Dennison Road south of Valley Blvd. near the entrance to Old West Ranch.

In Tehachapi, the Red Cross and Tehachapi's CERT were set up with shelter center at Jacobsen Junior High School, 711 Anita Dr. Entrance is off of Snyder near the swimming pool. To reach the Red Cross with questions about the Tehachapi shelter by phone call 661-324-6427 during business hours or  1-800-951-5600.

Kern County has sent a unit up from Animal Control in Bakersfield and number of area residents have offered to assist with animals or in other ways. Here is the latest information:

  • Terry Kristie and John 822-3670 or 972-5140 will haul and pasture horses.
  • Janice from STOP 599-6400 will help with animal needs.
  • Samara and Kyle 466-4449, transportation of any items
  • Chad Steele, 817-2898, has land to keep horses, goats, etc. No dogs.

The Tehachapi News will post other information as it becomes available. Another story will be posted here on Monday morning, Sept. 5.

Send news tips to: celliott@tehachapinews.com. Visit the Tehachapi News on facebook for updates, as well.

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