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Firefighter working at Stagecoach fire command post in Kern County dies

Patricia Paine said her son cleared away brush and saved her home from the Stagecoach fire in Plute Meadows.
Patricia Paine said her son Michael cleared away brush, saving her home from the Stagecoach fire in Plute Meadows. Two of her neighbors’ homes were destroyed.
(Alex Horvath / Bakersfield Californian)

A firefighter assigned to the Stagecoach fire in Kern County has died, authorities said.

The firefighter, who was not identified, “had an acute medical emergency and passed away due to complications,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a statement Tuesday.

The firefighter was working in a “support role” at the command post for the blaze, the statement said. There were no additional details about the death.

The wildfire has charred more than 7,700 acres of dry brush since breaking out Aug. 3 off Stagecoach Drive and Old Ox Road, south of the community of Havilah. At least 40 structures, including 15 residences, have been destroyed. The fire was 91% contained as of Wednesday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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Evacuation recommendations for the area have been withdrawn, Cal Fire said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

To the south, the massive Apple fire has been burning for more than a week in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. While it has chewed through more than 33,000 acres of brush and trees, it has grown only slightly in recent days and was 60% contained as of Wednesday.


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