UPDATE: Fire crews trying to get upper hand on blaze that forced evacuations near Bakersfield

Jun 15, 2014 6:22 PM by Cheryl Wengren

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) - Federal fire officials are accelerating their attack on a smoky wildfire that's threatening 500 homes in central California.

A U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman says crews are racing to control the fast-moving blaze before hotter, drier weather sets in.

The fire burning in and around the Sequoia National Forest doubled in size overnight and has come within a mile of a community about 30 miles northeast of Bakersfield. Kern County sheriff's deputies walked the streets of Wofford Heights with bullhorns in the early morning hours and knocked on doors, urging residents to evacuate.

The Forest Service says the Shirley Fire has consumed 3.1 square miles of bone-dry trees, grass and chaparral and destroyed at least two structures.

The blaze, which broke out Friday night, is 10 percent contained. It was fanned Sunday afternoon by 17- to 20-mph wind gusts at the mountain ridges,

The cause is under investigation.


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