Monday, September 5, 2011

California fire threatens 800 homes

A fire caused by a plane crash threatened 800 homes or structures in Tehachapi, California, on Monday, with nearly 5,000 acres ablaze in rugged terrain, according to state and local officials.

The fire started Sunday and was 5% contained by Monday, but there was no estimate of when it would be fully contained, according to a statement from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Kern County Fire Department. Evacuations were recommended in the area threatened by the fire and at least three roads were closed, the statement said.

A relief center has been set up at Jacobsen Junior High School in Tehachapi for evacuees.

"Firefighters are working in extreme conditions, high heat, low humidity, with the potential for erratic winds," according to the statement. The fire was burning in a mix of grass, brush and trees in steep rugged terrain, officials said. It was moving southeast toward Old West Ranch, Tehachapi City and Oak Creek and local power lines were threatened, according to the statement. Bulldozers were building perimeter lines to try to halt the fire, the statement said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown's office said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to provide money to offset the state and local costs of fighting the fire. more