150 homes burned in California wildfire, officials report

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif., June 25 (UPI) — A fast-moving wildfire in Southern California claimed more homes Saturday as firefighters revised estimates lower on its containment.

More than 150 homes have been destroyed and another 75 damaged in the Erskine fire since it started Thursday in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is now covering about 37,500 acres and is expected to grow.

Two people were reported dead Friday, with officials reporting they thought they’d found the remains of the third person who lost their life to the fire, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The fire had already burned about 20,000 acres, causing the mandatory evacuation of about 2,000 people by Friday afternoon.

The situation worsened between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, fire officials told NBC News, as they reduced their estimated containment of the fire from 5 percent to 0 percent, warning high temperatures and winds may spread the blaze overnight.

Although the north and west portions of the fire are not expected to grow significantly, the eastern side may be susceptible to winds and slope, and the steep, rugged terrain on the south side of the fire has made suppressing it difficult, according to the Kern County Fire Department.

Above-normal temperatures were predicted for Sunday, with highs of 95 expected, continuing the weather which at one point helped the fires claim 11 miles in 13 hours.

“I’ve never been in a wildland fire where I’ve seen so many homes burn,” Kern County fire Capt. Tyler Townsend said Friday. “It’s one of the most devastating I’ve ever seen.”

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