U.S Dozens of homes burned in new California wildfire

The so-called Erskine Fire erupted on Thursday afternoon in the foothills of Kern County about 42 miles (68 km) northeast of Bakersfield and within hours devoured 5,000 acres of drought-parched brush and grass, fire information website InciWeb said.

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Dozens of homes burned in new California wildfire play

Dozens of homes burned in new California wildfire

(Reuters)
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Hundreds of firefighters were headed to the communities around Isabella Lake in central California on Friday to battle a fast-growing wildfire that has destroyed 80 homes and threatens over 1,000 more, officials said.

The so-called Erskine Fire erupted on Thursday afternoon in the foothills of Kern County about 42 miles (68 km) northeast of Bakersfield and within hours devoured 5,000 acres of drought-parched brush and grass, fire information website InciWeb said.

"There are currently 350 fire fighters on scene, with several hundred more in route to the fire," the website said.

Evacuation orders were in effect throughout the area and some 1,500 structures were under threat as of Thursday night, InciWeb added. So far, two firefighters have suffered injuries from smoke-inhalation.

Footage of the blaze carried on the Kern County Fire Department's Facebook page showed flames consuming several homes and roaring through nearby foothills, as firefighting helicopters maneuvered around billowing black and white smoke.

State officials said they secured a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help manage the inferno.

That fire was one of several large blazes burning through drought-stricken California.

To the south, firefighters were still struggling to manage a pair of blazes burning in the foothills of Los Angeles County, dubbed the San Gabriel Complex.

As of Thursday night, it had burned more than 5,200 acres of chaparral and short grass, and containment lines had only been drawn around 15 percet of the fire's perimeter, InciWeb said.

In San Diego County, authorities lifted evacuation orders for the Mexican border community of Portrero on Thursday, saying crews had cut containment lines around more than a third of a wildfire that has blackened some 7,350 acres.

Evacuation orders remained in force for residents of two other mountain communities. Flames have already destroyed five homes and roughly a dozen outbuildings since Sunday.

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