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Evacs lifted for homes near Kern County fire

August 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Residents near the Kern County brush fire in Lebec were evacuated from their homes as the blaze threatened about 20 structures. Evacuation orders were lifted for Lebec residents near a Kern County brush fire later Tuesday night.The fire broke out on the west side of the 5 Freeway near Lebec Road at about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday.

The fire had burned 1,300 acres by 10 p.m.

Approximately 500 firefighters and several aircraft, including four helicopters and four air tankers, were on scene battling the blaze.

"We've ordered a large contingent, we've mobilized an army," said Kern County Fire Chief Nick Dunn. "I feel pretty darn good about the community of Frazier Park and Lebec. We've managed to keep the fire away from structures."

An evacuation center was established at Frazier Mountain High School at 700 Falcon Way in Lebec.

About 250 homes in the area had been evacuated, according to the Kern County Sheriff's Dept. The evacuations were in the Chimney Canyon area of Lebec and along Lebec Rd. near Lebec Oaks Rd.

Further evacuations were possible, according to officials. Local residents were advised to be prepared to evacuate if necessary. The sheriff's department and the California Highway Patrol were conducting door-to-door evacuation notifications earlier Tuesday.

"A lot of people who live up here realize that if it gets that close it could be a real dangerous situation," said Lebec resident Raymond Ray.

Kern County Fire Dept. officials said the fire was fuel-driven, with west wind, triple-digit temperatures and low humidity adding to the difficult conditions. The fire was dubbed the "Lebec Fire" by officials.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.