By Elizabeth Mendia
Kern Valley Sun
The Ant Fire, which started on Saturday, June 13 at 5:10 p.m. and located 13 miles North of Kernville, has burned 10 acres and is 75% contained according to Al Watson, Kern River District Ranger, US Forest Service.
The cause of the fire was attributed to human causes but remains under investigation.
The fire, which was burning on both sides of the river, was initially detected by a Forest Service patrolman in the area; quick action from interagency firefighting assets including air tankers helicopters stopped the forward spread of the fire by early evening.
Over 100 firefighters were assigned to fight the fire which closed Mountain Highway 99 for several hours delaying travelers and causing campers in Ant Canyon to have to evacuate the area. Mountain Highway 99 was reopened on Sunday and remains open.
The Forest Service urges travelers “to slow down and use caution when driving through the area.”
A press release from the Forest Service reports that “Cooperators included the Forest Service, (both Kern River and Western Divide Ranger Districts), US Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, CA. Highway Patrol, Tulare County Fire Department, Kern County Fire Department, and Sierra South rafting company.
Resources assigned were 2 Helicopters, 2 air tankers, 1 air attack, 2 water tenders, 8 engines, 5 hand crews, 3 patrols, fire investigators, and archaeologists and, multiple fire management overhead. Over 100 fire personnel were assigned the first night.”
Additionally, the Forest Service “would like to take this opportunity to remind the public high winds with dry and warm conditions continue to exist – please be careful with all heat sources, and equipment such as, lawnmowers, generators, welding, weed eaters, and smoking.”
Additional updates will be provided as received.