Kern County California Douses Third Wildfire

     BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (CN) — Kern County, already scorched by two wildfires, one of them fatal, fought a third fiery foe over the weekend and vanquished it Sunday night.
     The Fort Fire, spotted late Friday morning, swelled from 150 acres of grassland to 500 acres within hours. It burned 554 acres and was 100 percent contained at 7:37 p.m. Sunday.
     It appears to have started near a runaway truck ramp on the east side of northbound Interstate 5, east of Grapevine.
     It briefly threatened radio towers and power lines, which were briefly shut down as a precaution. Traffic slowed due to the fire, but the highway was not closed. The cause has not yet been determined.
     Facing wildfire after wildfire with no relief in sight, Kern County is a veritable tinderbox.
     The Erskine Fire, which scorched 48,019 acres near Lake Isabella and claimed the lives of an elderly couple, was the biggest California wildfire of the year and the most destructive in Kern County history. It cost $22.6 million to extinguish, and was still smoldering over the weekend.
     Its cause too is undetermined. It started at Erskine Creek Road and Apollo Way off Highway 178 on June 24.
     The Deer Fire began July 1 near the small, rural community of Bear Valley Springs in the Tehachapi Mountains near Highway 223 and Deertrail Road. It had burned 1,785 acres 6 miles east of Arvin, a farming town 15 miles southeast of Bakersfield, and has been contained.
     Three people were hurt, but none killed. Its cause too is under investigation.

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