Fire Out of Control in Sequoia Forest

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A wildfire fueled by heavy brush and pushed by strong, erratic winds was burning out of control Thursday in the Sequoia National Forest, blackening 2,000 acres, destroying two cabins and threatening others, authorities said.

More than 350 firefighters were sent to battle the blaze in the steep, mountainous region, 35 miles northeast of Bakersfield. At least 1,000 more firefighters were expected to be dispatched during the night, Kern County Fire Capt. Ray Soto said.

“It’s burning completely out of control,” Soto said. “This has been given extremely high priority in the state. The winds are 15 m.p.h. to 20 m.p.h., and that’s not helping things one bit.”


Meanwhile, in Morongo Valley, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, a fire investigator made an arson arrest Thursday as firefighters battled an uncontained fire that burned nearly 200 acres of brush and damaged two homes, authorities said.

The Sequoia National Forest fire broke out at 1 p.m. near the town of Havilah and destroyed two cabins used as permanent homes by local residents, Soto said.

“More homes are threatened. We have fire engines up there right now protecting them, and we’re hoping for the best,” Soto said.

The exact number of threatened homes was not known. No injuries were reported.