Stagecoach Fire in Havilah Destroys Homes, Sends Residents Fleeing

Photo courtesy of
Stagecoach fire blazing through Havilah.

By Elizabeth Mendia
Kern Valley Sun

[Update: August 5, 2020 12:53pm – Stagecoach fire has burned 4,100 acres and is 10% contained as of this morning, according to Andrew Freeborn, Public Information Office, Kern County Fire Department.]

The Stagecoach Fire started on Monday around 3:30 p.m. near Stagecoach Drive and Old Ox Road in Havilah and has destroyed two homes, including that of Wendy Karuse-Smith, a longtime resident of Havilah.

The fire was 0% contained as of 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday and had scorched 1,500 acres, according to media reports.
Residents in the area were recommended to evacuate as the Red Cross set up an emergency shelter in Tehachapi.

“KCFD is on the scene and a KCFD type 3 strike team has been emergency demobilized from the #PondFire and is en-route to Piute,” said local firefighters union on their social media page.

“Unfortunately KCFD’s hotshot crew 7 was cut this year as this fire is in what was their backyard,” added the firefighters union. The recent defunding of the Rio Bravo Hotshot crew, and cuts to firefighter overtime pay, have been reported by the Sun and other local media outlets from Bakersfield in recent weeks.

This is a developing story. Updates will be posted to the Sun’s Facebook page and website.