Wildfire on 178 nearly contained

By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

More than 600 fire-fighting personnel continue to work through extreme temperatures to contain what is being called the “Highway Fire” along Highway 178 in the Kern River Valley, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The blaze began fewer than 10 miles southwest of Lake Isabella on Sunday afternoon, June 18.

After burning more than 1,500 acres of the Sequoia National Forest, the fire has been 90-percent contained as of Thursday afternoon, and officials expect it to be fully contained by Sunday, June 25. The cause of the fire still remains under investigation

“Due to the heat and steep terrain, firefighter safety remains a top priority during fire operations,” said the release. “Extreme heat is expected to dominate the area and will remain throughout the week.”

At the fire’s peak, more than 700 personnel were assigned to containing the blaze with air support continually dropping water and other retardants. The Forest Service has reported only one injury as a result of the incident. No structures have been threatened or destroyed.

“Firefighters continue to make good progress on building containment lines and are currently engaged in line construction and mop up,” said the release.

Highway 178 has been reopened to all traffic but is restricted to only one westbound lane through the length of the fire. Rancheria Road remains closed during operations.

For up-to-date information, visit inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5254.

Story First Published: 2017-06-23