KERN COUNTY --A fast-moving wildfire in Kern County destroyed at least 80 homes and forced hundreds of evacuations in rural communities near Lake Isabella on Thursday.
The Erskine Fire quickly exploded in size since it began around 4 p.m., spreading to at least 5,000 acres as it was fueled by heat in the upper 90s and low humidity.
"I've been a firefighter for 9 years. This is definitely the most destructive fire I've ever been to," said Capt. Tyler Townsend with the Kern County Fire Department, who was broadcasting live on Facebook from the fire area.
Many homes in the rural area have propane tanks and some could be seen exploding live on Townsend's video.
Evacuation orders were issued for the communities of Squirrel Mountain Valley, South Fork, Weldon, Onyx, Lakeland Estates, Yankee Canyon and Mountain Mesa.
"This fire's driven by winds, steep terrain," Townsend said. "We have firefighters in here trying to protect as many homes as they can."
Townsend said while the official estimate was 80 homes destroyed, he believed the actual count would eventually be much higher.