The Canyon Fire burning in the mountains south of the City of Tehachapi has grown to more than 3,500 acres and the Kern County Sheriff's office has confirmed a second victim in the plane crash that started the fire late Sunday morning.
Erratic winds and steep, rugged terrain have challenged firefighting efforts, the Kern County Fire Dept. reported in a relase at 9:20 p.m. At that time 600 firefighters were on scene and more were arriving from throughout California with many crews assigned to structure protection. At least one structure was confirmed lost with many more threatened.
"This is a very dynamic situation," said KCFD Capt. Victor Cruz.
Both the Sheriff's office and Kern County fire have set up command posts along Dennison Road near the entrance to Old West Ranch, south of Highline Road.
Evacuation orders are in place for residences in areas that are south of Highline Road, north of Oak Creek, west of White Oak, and east Water Canyon. The Kern County Sheriff Office is evacuating residents in the affected areas. In addition, the ReadyKern system was also being used to advise residents of evacuations.
The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at Jacobsen Junior High, 711 Anita Drive in Tehachapi, but by 10 p.m. most of the visitors were Tehachapi area residents checking in to see what they could do to help.
The Sheriff's office earlier confirmed one person was killed when a Cessna 210 crashed in the Old West Ranch, igniting the fire. In a news release at 11:21 p.m., the Sheriff's office confirmed the death of two individuals but did not provide details, pending notification of next of kin. The son of one of the victims confirmed his father was in the plan and said both men aboard the plane are from Southern California and were viewing property in the area from the plan when high winds caught the plane.
In Kern County, the general public is advised to dial 211 for information about the fire.