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Thursday, Jul 03 2014 05:51 PM

Fire crews respond to three fires on July 3

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Fire crews respond to a fire on Dennison and Highline roads on July 3.

A firefighter from Kern County Engine Company 18 douses the smoldering remains of a brush fire on Highline and Tucker roads.

A fixed-wing aircraft drops fire retardant over a fire on Highline Road and Tucker Road on July 3. Kern County Fire Department responded to three separate fires on the same day.

Three fires in the space of an hour sent fire crews and first responders into full emergency mode on Thursday, July 3.

Around 2:30 p.m., a fire was reported on Cherry Lane just off of Tucker Road.

Kern County Fire Fire Department responded and got it out promptly, however within the next 15 to 20 minutes, a second fire was reported on Tucker Road and Highline Road by the Church of the Nazarene.

Hand crew 82 out of the new fire facility located in Monolith at the old Monroe High School building was dispatched to the Tucker and Highline fire, and were able to get the blaze under control quickly.

The fire department responded with a full brush alarm to the second location.

Approximately 10 minutes after the second fire was reported, a third fire was reported on Dennison Road and Highline Road.

All fires are reportedly under control at this time, with no further danger to buildings or life or evacuations expected to be made.

The duty officer for the Tehachapi Police Department on the scene conducting the roadblock at the Tucker Road fire stated that, due to so many reported fires in such a close period of time, it was very suspicious in nature.

According to Tehachapi Police Sergeant Wyatt Empey, fireworks were not a contributing factor. Local law enforcement stated they would be watching the situation closely.

Local law enforcement remind local residents that the usage fireworks are prohibited.

Resources involved in all three fires included Engine 11 from Keene, Engine 12 from Tehachapi, Engine 16 from Bear Valley, Engine 18 from Stallion Springs, and Engine 13 from the new station in Golden Hills.

Also responding were Hand Crew 82 from Tehachapi, Camp 8, and Hand Crew 83 from Keene. The Bureau of Land Management were also on hand to offer mutual aid at both sites.

Helicopter 407 from Keene was airborne and made multiple water drops at the Tucker and Highline fire, picking up water from various dip sites within the Tehachapi Valley.

A fixed wing aircraft was called as a precaution, which was already equipped with water and a drop was made on the Tucker and Highline fire as well.

Kirk Kushen, battalion chief for Kern County's First Battalion at Keene said from the scene of the Highline fire that the fires happened within one hour of each other. He added that an arson unit will be called in due to the suspicious nature of the fires, but the cause of all three are still under investigation.

Fire crews will be on hand for the next few hours to ensure the sites are fulling contained and no risk of a flare up occurs.

“This should be a reminder for people  to be careful with fireworks,” Kushen added, looking at the smoldering fire. “All it takes is one spark and you can see the result.”

Tehachapi News reporters Darla A. Baker and Jack Barnwell, and freelance photographer Nick Smirnoff contributed to this report.

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