Above: the early hours of the Erskine Fire, June 23, 2016. Kern County Fire Department photo.
(UPDATED at 1:30 p.m. PDT June 24, 2016)
Kern County Fire Department confirmed that two civilians have been killed in the fire.
(UPDATED at 10:26 a.m. PDT June 24, 2016)
Fire officials managing the Erskine Fire at Lake Isabella, California now say the size of the fire is currently estimated at 19,034 acres. Approximately 100 structures have been lost and 1,500 additional structures are threatened.
There are currently 600 firefighters on scene, with several hundred more in route.
On Friday there will be 6 air tankers, including a very large air tanker, and 7 helicopters on the fire. Additional air resources are in route.
The spot weather forecast issued by the National Weather Service at 11 p.m. Thursday predicted for Friday, west winds of 5 to 8 mph in the morning increasing in the afternoon to 7 to 11 mph with gusts to 18.
A more recent forecast from the NWS for the fire area includes much stronger winds and a Red Flag Warning for the fire area. They predict sustained southwest winds of 24 mph with gusts up to 36, decreasing in the late afternoon. This will present a challenge for firefighters.
(UPDATED at 9:52 a.m. PDT June 24, 2016)
The powerful video below shows some of the conditions the firefighters were dealing with as the Erskine Fire at Lake Isabella burned homes.
The National Weather Service spot weather forecast for the Erskine Fire issued Thursday night calls for temperatures Friday in the low 90s, relative humidity around 10 percent, and west winds of 5 to 8 mph in the morning increasing in the afternoon to 7 to 11 mph with gusts to 18. Saturday will be warmer but less breezy.
Mike Minton’s Type 1 Incident Management Team will inbrief at noon on Friday. They will most likely assume command 6 to 18 hours later.
The below photo sequence of the first 30 minutes of the Erskine Fire shows how quickly it grew.
— Phil Johnston (@firefaqs) June 24, 2016
The area is under a Red Flag Warning on Friday.
(UPDATED at 5:57 a.m. PDT June 23, 2016)
In its first 10 hours the Erskine Fire at Lake Isabella scorched the earth over a path about 12 miles long by two miles wide. According to the latest figures released by the Kern County Fire Department at 5:45 a.m. approximately 8,000 acres and 100 structures have burned and another 1,500 structures are threatened.
Our very unofficial estimate using satellite data concludes that the fire had grown to well over 12,000 acres by Friday at 2:26 a.m. (see the map above).
This same data shows that the fire spread from just east of the town of Lake Isabella, north to Highway 178 in some places, and ran 12 miles east to within a mile of Kelso Valley Road.
Tyler Townsend, a PIO for Kern County Fire Department, said three firefighters suffered smoke inhalation injuries and were transported to a hospital.
Highway 178 is closed. Thursday night there were 350 personnel working on the fire. That number is expected to grow to 600 to 700 on Friday.
Areas under evacuation orders include 1,500 residences in Bella Vista, South Fork, Weldon, Onyx, Lakeland Estates, Mountain Mesa, South Lake, Squirrel Valley, and Yankee Canyon. The primary evacuation shelter is Kernville Elementary School.
A Type 1 Incident Management Team was ordered just a few hours after the fire started at about 4 p.m. on Thursday.