Livestock, including this horse, were endangered by Friday afternoon's fire. Photo by Austin Miller
A power pole at the corner of Backes Lane and Highline Road caught fire Friday afternoon, but firefighters were able to contain the fire at 34 acres. Tehachapi News photo by Ed Gordon
Austin Miller shared this photo of traffic backed up on Highline Road Friday afternoon as flames and smoke rose from a nearby field.
An early view of Friday's fire, shot by Austin Miller. Notice how high the flames and column of smoke are compared to the nearby tree.
An early view of Friday's fire from near Highline Road — a wall of flame in the sagebrush. Photo by Austin Miller
Firefighters work a line while the fire puts off a column of smoke that could be seen from as far away as Highway 58 and Mill Street Friday afternoon. Tehachapi News photo by Ed Gordon
A pumper truck and crew fight flames near Highway 202 and Backes Lane on Friday afternoon. Tehachapi News photo by Ed Gordon
A water dropping helicopter over the fire Thursday afternoon. Nearby Brite Lake was used as a water source. An air tanker from Porterville was sent back before it arrived as firefighters contained the fire about 4 p.m. Tehachapi News photo by Ed Gordon
A dozer cuts a line along Highway 202 to keep the fire from jumping the roadway on Friday afternoon. Tehachapi News photo by Ed Gordon
Firefighters can barely be seen through the smoke as they work to cut a line in front of the fire Thursday afternoon. Tehachapi News photo by Ed Gordon
A crew with a dozer gets ready to do clean-up after the fire was contained about 4 p.m. Friday. Tehachapi News photo by Ed Gordon
Laura Steele Hall shared this photo she took of the fire in the area of Highway 202 and Backes Lane today.
Elizabeth Jones shared this photo she captured during the firefighting Friday afternoon.
A fast moving brush fire that filled the western portion of the Tehachapi Valley with smoke and shut down Highway 202 for a time has been contained at 34 acres, although mop-up continues.
The Kern County Fire Dept. attacked the fire with a vengeance because it was threatening homes and livestock. According to a news release issued after the fire was contained, a "save" of more than a million dollars was recorded.
When firefighters arrived at what was called the "Backes Fire," it was already at about five acres and sending up smoke that could be seen for miles. Cattle in a field were being rounded up by the rancher, and eight homes and other outbuildings were immediately threatened.
Firefighters on the ground were assisted by the KCFD helicopter and three air tankers brought the fire under control before any damage was done by the fire. Property owners assisted fire crews by leading their horses to a safe area.
The fire started on property owned by Cody Wilner. The cause is under investigation.
According to radio reports, an off duty firefighter was able to move some horses out of danger in the area of the fire.
Highway 202 was closed for a time but has reopened.
Erratic winds contributed to the spread of the fire and a Red Flag Warning has been issued for areas of Southern California due to high winds being expected to continue.
A Tehachapi Unified School District employee was arrested on Monday, March 31, on charges relating to animal cruelty and is scheduled to be arraigned in Kern County Superior Court at Mojave on April 14.