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Fires in Kern County, Northern California grow as temperatures soar

A view of the Shell fire from a wildfire camera Monday morning near the Grapevine.
(Alertwildfire.org)

A fire in Kern County grew to 1,200 acres and a blaze near the Oregon border doubled in size as temperatures soared throughout the state Sunday, officials said.

Kern County officials said the Shell fire was only 2% contained as of 8:45 p.m. Sunday, and smoke from the blaze could be seen billowing along the 5 Freeway throughout Sunday afternoon and evening. It was not immediately clear how the fire started.

Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, the state Bureau of Land Management and Ventura County all responded to the blaze, the Kern County Fire Department said on Twitter.

A fire sparked by a lightning strike near Mount Shasta in Northern California also doubled in size Sunday, prompting evacuation warnings in the area.

The Lava fire erupted on Saturday morning and grew from 220 acres Sunday morning to 550 acres by nightfall, according to the U.S. Forest Service, as temperatures neared triple digits in the area.

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The fire was 20% contained as of Sunday night, the Forest Service said, and evacuation warnings were issued for sections of Highway 97 and an area north of the town of Weed.

Officials said the fire was one of four sparked by lightning strikes in recent days. Although the others had been slowed significantly, officials said the Lava fire was in “rough, rocky terrain” that would prove difficult for firefighters to attack.

Firefighters were trying aerial water drops, but also warned that the presence of a civilian drone had “halted aerial fire suppression operations for a brief time.”


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