Call Fire closes canyon

Shannon Rapose
Kern Valley Sun

Just before 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28, fire crews received calls reporting a vehicle had caught fire approximately 1.5 miles west of Democrat Fire Station in the Kern River Canyon portion of Hwy 178.

When units arrived, they found the flames had spread to nearby vegetation, making their way up the steep terrain filled with dry brush and timber. Shortly after, CHP closed both east bound and west bound lanes and did not reopen then until 1 p.m. the next day.

Hand crews, patrols, engines, water tenders, fire management personnel, helicopters and VLATS (very large air tankers) responded from the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Kern County Fire Department. Additional resources (hand crews and engines) have been ordered to maintain day and night shifts.

“With the vigilance and dedication of the firefighters working in the challenging terrain we have been able to make positive gains within the Call wildfire upping the containment up to 35 percent,” said Incident Commander Erick D’Amico. “Ground crews are continuing line construction with assistance from aircraft.”

As of press time, the Call Fire has burned nearly 370 acres and is currently under investigation.