Special Sections : Canyon Fire

Tuesday, Sep 06 2011 05:53 PM

Canyon Fire up to 13,473 acres, 40% contained; map released

Firefighters are making progress on the Canyon Fire.

Information released at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6, indicates the fire has grown to 13,473 acres -- but it is 40 percent contained.

Growth of the fire has been to the south and east of its start on Old West Ranch on Sunday, Sept. 4, after a plane crash in the area caused the fire. Two Southern California men died in the plane crash.

According to the latest report, the fire is burning in a mix of grass, brush, oak and pine trees in steep, rugged terrain with heavy fuels. A number of dead Western Grey Pines in the area is generating intense fire activity. As the fire has burned to the southeast, a portion of the fire is moving out of the hills onto the desert floor, comprised of sparse brush and grass.

The communities of Old West Ranch, Oak Creek and Rosamond continue to be threatened due to possible wind changes. Windmill farms and Southern California Edison infrastructure and power lines continue to be at ris.

Firefighters are working in extreme conditions with low humidity and the potential for erratic winds. Crews are continuing to protect structures, build control line and some have started mop-up operations using crews, dozers and aircraft.

Road closures for the general public include Blackburn Canyon Road, Water Canyon Road and Oak Creek Road.

Recommended evacuation orders are in place for Old West Ranch, Owens Ranch, and two miles south of Oak Creek and for 10 to 20 homes east of Willow Springs Road.

The Bureau of Land Management has closed the Pacific Crest Trail in the fire area.

Two injuries have been reported, but their nature was not described in the press release. Earlier a firefighting helicopter made a "hard landing," taking the aircraft out of service but reportedly there were no injuries in that incident.

Cooperating agencies on the fire include Cal Fire, Kern County Fire, Santa Barbara County Fire, Ventura County Fire, Orange County Fire Authority, the US Forest Service, BLM, state Office of Emergency Services, Tehachapi Police Dept., California Highway Patrol, Kern County Sheriff's Office and Red Cross. The Salvation Army has also assisted.

A total of 1,255 personnel are on the fire including 87 engines, 47 fire crews, seven air tankers, 10 helicopters, 27 bulldozers and three water tenders.

See related stories at www.tehachapinews.com and at www.bakersfield.com.

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