Piute Fire Update, July 10

Since we last updated information about the Piute fire, south of Lake Isabella, California, it has grown on the north side, but is still quite some distance from primary roads and major population centers. It is 33,992 acres and is 28% contained.

Kern County FD reported this morning:

Yesterday, the fire was active in the northeast corner near Cortez Canyon and Dry Meadow. Crews continue to work on establishing a northern control line in the Erskine Creek and the Bob Rabbit Canyon areas utilizing hand crews supported by retardant drops; indirect control line on the northeast corner has been completed.

Dozers and hand crews have completed the control line on the western edge of the fire and will conduct a small burnout operation today. Firefighters have made excellent progress with direct control efforts on the eastern perimeter near Kelso Valley. There were no smokes visible on the south flank of the fire yesterday; crews plan to burnout a small piece of line along Piute Mountain Road today.

Ground crews are well supported by aerial resources with water bucket and retardant drops; in addition to the six assigned helicopters, eleven air tankers are on order today.

This map was updated at 0900 today. Click on it to see a larger version.

CA: Piute fire July 8

The Piute fire south of Lake Isabella made some major runs late yesterday on the northwest and north sides, pushed by strong southeast winds. On the northwest side it ran for about two miles on the west side of King Solomon Ridge to King Solomon peak, and ate up significant acreage on the north side, while blowing across firelines on the west side in the Red Mountain area.

From Kern County FD:

Crews are actively engaged in structure protection around Havilah and an assessment is being made of structures lost. Along the north, contingency lines under construction will be evaluated in the morning to assess fire movement and potential alternative line locations. Crews completed indirect dozer and hand line in the Kelso Valley area to prevent the fire from moving onto private land.

The fire was reported to be, as of late yesterday, 26,285 acres and 22% contained.

Photo: Piute fire, by Michael Meadows

Update, July 8 @ 1700 MT:

From the Kern County FD site:

• Firefighters are constructing dozer line to protect the communities at risk. Dozer line will be constructed around the communities of Havilah, Bodfish, Squirrel Mountain Valley, South Lake, Bella Vista and tying back into the Kelso Valley.
• Fire made significant runs to the Northwest, pushed by strong SE winds. The fire moved 3-4 miles in the northeast corner and is now at the south rim of Bob Rabbit. On the western perimeter the fire moved 2-3 miles toward Walker Basin and is currently on Solomon Ridge. On the SW corner, the fire has not moved much and remains on the SW side of Erskine Creek. Fire increased 4462 acres.
• Fire officials are assessing damage to property in the Red Mountain area.
• Forty-five additional engines have arrived to provide structure protection and suppression support; an additional thirty engines are on order.
• A recommended evacuation notice was issued for the residents living on both sides of the Caliente/Bodfish Road.

The map was produced by Kern County FD at noon PT today.

Piute fire heads west

Due to an unexpected wind shift from the southeast, the Piute fire, south of Lake Isabella, jumped containment lines on the west side and made a run up to Brown Peak. The fire is also very active on the north flank. Satellite photos show a very large smoke plume being blown to the west.

The incident has ordered additional engines for structure protection and recommended evacuation for residents along a section of County Road 483. The last reported size of the fire was 25,722 acres and was 26% contained, but this may have been before or after the major blowup this afternoon. The Kern County FD has more information HERE.

The map below, according to Kern County, was current as of 5:00 p.m. today, but it does not appear to show any major increase in acreage on the west or north sides that would be consistent with the smoke seen on the satellite views. Click on it to see a larger version.

CA: Piute fire July 6

The fire is 21,478 acres and is 26% contained.

From Kern County FD:

On Saturday, the fire moved actively toward the east and northeast driven by strong southwest winds and further growth is expected in the same area today. The fire perimeter now extends into the BLM Bright Star Wilderness. The fire also continues to move slowly down slope along the western and northern perimeters. Firefighters plan to burnout fuels along the southeastern fire line. Yesterday, the fire increased 2,468 acres.

There was active burning on the eastern side as the head of the fire fingers into sparse desert fuels in the Bright Star Wilderness. The fire has spread into Cortez and Bright Star Canyons. All structures continue to be protected.

Hand crews and dozers are constructing indirect fire lines on the northern and western ridges. Firefighters continue to reinforce fire line along the flanks of the southern perimeter.

Precautionary evacuation notices were delivered to residences in the Kelso Valley area by the Kern County Sheriffs Office and Search and Rescue Team.

The map below shows heat, in red, orange, and black, detected by satellites last night, with the red areas being the most recently burned. The yellow lines are the perimeters uploaded by the incident management teams yesterday. Click on the map to see a larger version.

CA: Piute Fire Update, July 5

The Piute Fire, south of Isabella Lake and east of Bakersfield, last night crossed the Piute Mountain Road again at around 9:30 p.m. Crews worked through the night and used natural barriers to stop the spread. Firefighters previously contained a run across the road on Friday morning. The fire crossed over a 1-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail north of Piute Mountain Road and 2 miles east of Claraville Flat. On the northeast corner, the fire moved into the Bright Star Wilderness in the Cortez Canyon area.

The fire continues to move east towards the Kelso Valley area and similar fire movement is expected today. Steep terrain on the western and northern portions of the fire is hampering containment efforts. The fire is 19,010 acres and is 18% contained.

The map was updated today at 1:00 p.m.

California: Piute fire update

The Piute fire, south of Lake Isabella and Kernville, made some significant runs in the last 24 hours on the east and northeast side. The fire is 16,626 acres and 18% contained.

The Fire continues to move east towards the Kelso Valley area and slowly down slope on the western perimeter in the Thompson Canyon area. Increased dozer work taking place on the southwest corner is designed to tie old roads together and give firefighters suppression options. Crews continue to hold constructed hand line and dozer line on the southern perimeter to protect the community of Claraville. Approximately 100 firefighters added over a mile of line and conducted burn out operations to strengthen the southern fire line during the night. Steep terrain on the western and northern portions of the fire is hampering efforts. Three strike teams of engines are on stand-by for initial attack over the holiday weekend.

The map below was updated at 9:15 a.m. today, Friday.


The Kern County Fire Department has a great deal of information about the fire.