Kern County wildfire scorches 36,000 acres, destroys 150 homes and kills 2

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A fast-moving wildfire continues to burn outside Bakersfield near Lake Isabella.

Two people have died in the fast-moving wildfire that continues to burn outside Bakersfield near Lake Isabella, fire officials said. The blaze, which broke out Thursday afternoon, is being fueled by strong winds and high temperatures.

The fire has currently scorched 36,000 acres and at least 150 homes have been destroyed and an additional 75 damaged. The fire is 10-percent contained as of Saturday, June 25.

There are 1,139 firefighters fighting the fire with several hundred more from throughout the state coming to bring mutual aid.

Three firefighters were injured and all are being treated for smoke inhalation.

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For nearly 24 hours more than 100 Kern County residents have taken shelter at Kernville Elementary.

"It was scary. Everything was on fire," said Alexis Lopez, 8-years-old.

As a devastating fire rips through the area officials try to offer words of encouragement.

One firefighter said,"We're going to hit this fire hard. Were going to try to hit it fast. We're going to try to be safe."

Uncertainty and tension builds at the evacuation center where dozens don't know if they have a home to return to.

"It's hard, because the kids are scared. We just gotta stay strong for them," said Christina Chaparro, evacuated from Squirrel Valley.

Lopez said,"I had to stay inside because the sky was orange and I had asthma."

Chaparro and her family of nine left their Squirrel Valley home before evacuations because the smoke became unbearable. She said what's most comforting during these tragic times is the community that's come together.

"They offered showers at the camp ground, so were going to take advantage of that later. They're feeding us, trying to make us feel comfortable. Giving them (her kids) books and puzzles."

Doug Dowell remains positive after losing all of his belongings in the fire.

"Were safe and that's what matters. The house is gone, everything else is gone, you can replace things but you cant replace lives."

The retired firefighter moved from Sacramento just four days ago.

"We haven't even unpacked. Well there's a lot of people worse off than we are. I'm alive, babies are alive, dogs are alive," said Dowell.

If you need to get in touch with loved ones visit the Red Cross website here.
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wildfirefirecaliforniadestroyed homesbakersfield
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