California Wildfire Leaves Two Dead, 150 Homes Destroyed, Suspected Human Remains Found
A deadly wildfire raging through Central California has, so far, resulted in the destruction of 150 homes, fire officials from the affected regions confirmed on Saturday. According to CBS News, the number of houses destroyed by the wildfire may rise as fresh reports come in. Apart from these houses that were completely destroyed, another 75 homes are reported to be partially damaged. As we file this report, we have also received information about the discovery of some remains from the remnants of a burned house located on the 4100 block of Fiddleneck Street in South Lake. The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is yet to confirm if these were human remains.
CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Mike Mohler at scene in Kern County with the latest on the over 35,000 acre #ErskineFire pic.twitter.com/9lOArGvf1Q
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) June 25, 2016
Among the worst affected by the wildfire were rural communities living near Lake Isabella where even now, more than 2,500 homes are in danger of being consumed by the wildfire. Morgan Rivers, a local resident, was devastated following the destruction of his grandparents’ home in the region. In an interview with CBS News he said the following.
“It was my grandparents’ home, I grew up in that house,. It’s not the things inside of it, it’s something you can’t replace.”
This major wildfire, also dubbed the Erskine wildfire, started on Thursday and has so far spread over 35,000 acres of land (nearly 56 square miles) and has claimed the lives of two people. Three firefighters were also injured in the wildfire and have been admitted to local hospitals for treatment. The identities of the two victims have not been revealed. However, authorities did confirm that the duo were an elderly couple. When asked about the two deaths, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said the following.
“Two people who we believe were trying to escape the fire — they had actually gotten out of their home and were apparently overcome with smoke.”
Sheriff Donny Youngblood went on to add that he fears more fatalities could be uncovered once authorities complete a comprehensive search using cadaver dogs. In a community meeting held on Saturday, another officer told evacuees the following.
“My heart goes out to everyone here who has lost a home and my heart goes out to the family that perished yesterday in the fire.”
The wildfire was very quick to spread and several people were surprised at the speed at which it reached their doorsteps. This was, in part, due to the prevailing hot and dry weather conditions. In fact, the weather is expected to remain the same for the next few days as well. Meanwhile, officials from Kern County confirmed that more than 1,100 firefighters were involved in fighting the blaze.
Following the wildfire, people took to social media to talk about it. Several images and videos were posted by people and media houses describing the extent of the fire and the damages caused by it. Here are a few tweets.
The #ErskineFire has grown from nothing to more than a third of Bakersfield’s area in less than 48 hours. pic.twitter.com/6Qyt6JUATT
— NWS Hanford (@NWSHanford) June 25, 2016
“An emu runs to escape an approaching wildfire as it burns near Potrero, California” (Mike Blake/Reuters) pic.twitter.com/LOzdW10Jl7
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) June 21, 2016
150 homes have been destroyed in the deadly Kern County wildfire, with a tough weekend ahead https://t.co/2YG1t45hSL pic.twitter.com/7SAad6WIe2
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) June 25, 2016
Officials: 150 homes burned in deadly California wildfire
— Metafora (@metafora010480) June 26, 2016
Following the widespread destruction by the wildfires, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency. This was done in order to free up more resources to combat the inferno. Efforts are already being made to ensure smooth rehabilitation of the affected people. Meanwhile, authorities have hinted that they expect to bring the wildfire in control by June 30.
[AP Photo/Jae C. Hong]