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Brush fire breaks out near 5 Freeway in Lebec

Firefighters were battling a fire near the southbound 5 Freeway and Fort Tejon in the Kern County town of Lebec on Friday, July 19, 2013.
July 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than 180 firefighters are battling a brush fire near the southbound 5 Freeway and Fort Tejon in the Kern County town of Lebec.

The so-called Rancho Fire broke out around noon Friday in Digier Canyon. The blaze has charred about 400 acres and is currently at zero percent containment.

The Kern County Fire Department says 23 homes in the Oak Knolls area are under a voluntary evacuation. An evacuation center has been set up at Gorman School located at 49847 Gorman School Road.

Crews from Kern County, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire are fighting the flames. Four air tankers and three helicopters are also being used.

At one point, smoke forced the closure of a southbound lane of the freeway. That lane has since reopened.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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