Wildfire in Sequoia National Forest is 75% contained

#ShirleyFire in Sequoia National Forest is 75% contained; 2,600-plus acres burned

A wildfire burning in the Sequoia National Forest was 75% contained Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service reported.

The Shirley fire started Saturday in Kern County west of Lake Isabella and quickly spread as it chewed through unseasonably dry underbrush, timber and grass.

As wind pushed flames west toward Wofford Heights, some 1,000 homes were evacuated for about a day before firefighters established a solid perimeter and residents were allowed to return.

For the first time since the fire began, the blaze did not actively spread across the area on Monday and essentially burned in place, the Forest Service reported. A wind advisory for the Kern Valley is keeping crews on edge for rogue embers that could start spot fires, officials said.

Officials said recreational areas along the Kern River remained open. 

The cause of the Shirley fire, which has burned more than 2,600 acres, remained under investigation. The cost of fighting the fire is estimated at roughly $7.2 million.

In May, the Forest Service and Department of Interior announced they were likely to go $470 million over the $1.4 billion budgeted for fighting fires this season.

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