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Refuge fire in Kern County is 100% contained after burning 2,500 acres of wildlife habitat

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Kern County firefighters watched for spot fires from the Refuge fire, which sprang up Tuesday evening and grew within hours to 2,500 acres.
(Kern County Fire)

Firefighters working overnight in aircraft and with bulldozers fully contained a brush fire that broke out Tuesday evening at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge and chewed through 2,500 acres.

The Kern County Fire Department announced early Wednesday morning the fire was 100% contained.

Firefighters initially battled strong winds during the Refuge fire, which was reported to be only 60 acres at 6:14 p.m. Tuesday. By 7:12 p.m., the fire had grown to 1,500 acres.

Engineer Andrew Freeborn of the Kern County Fire Department said at least 70 firefighters from the agency were on the ground, assisted during the daylight hours by aircraft, including tankers, from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

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By 10:40 p.m., the winds had died down but the fire was still growing in multiple areas, Freeborn said. There were still a substantial number of firefighters on the ground and in bulldozers building containment lines around the fire, which was fed in part by dry grasses.

The Kern National Wildlife Refuge comprises 11,249 acres of “natural desert uplands, a relict riparian corridor and developed marsh,” according to its website.

The refuge was established in 1960 by executive order as a wintering area for migratory waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species. It is home to several endangered species, including the San Joaquin kit fox, Tipton kangaroo rat and the blunt-nosed leopard lizard.

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(Los Angeles Times)


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