Wildfire in Sequoia National Forest grows to 2,200 acres

Heavy smoke from the Shirley fire above Wofford Heights.
(Casey Christie / Associated Press)

A wildfire burning in the Sequoia National Forest in Kern County is expected to expand deeper into the woods Monday, its flames fueled by wind and unseasonably dry conifer trees and grass, officials said.

The Shirley fire, which has burned at least 2,200 acres and was 10% contained Sunday night, had forced the evacuation of about 500 homes. Several local roads and highways were also closed, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Dozens of people stayed at a Red Cross shelter overnight as more than 1,100 firefighters battled the blaze burning just west of Lake Isabella, the Forest Service reported.

Video footage posted by the Kern County Fire Department showed helicopters dropping water on the flames overnight, with an air tanker scheduled to begin making drops Monday afternoon, authorities said.


The fire is expected to continue a slow march north and east toward the evacuated homes in and around Alta Sierra, Highway 155, Black Mountain and the lake.

No injuries have been reported and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Forest Service officials have called a meeting for 7 p.m. Monday at Faith Community Church in Wofford Heights.

The following road closures remained in effect Monday:


  • Rancheria Road between Highway 155 and Sawmill Road
  • Wagy Flat Road between Old State Road and the forest boundary three miles south
  • Sawmill Road from its end near Rancheria Road to six miles east at the forest border
  • Alder Creek Road from the Alder Creek campground to Rancheria Road
  • Highway 155 is closed between Woody to the west and Wofford Heights to the east, cutting off a main east-west route through the forest.

Highway 178 to the south remains unaffected by the fire.
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