California Wildfires

New Evacuations Ordered as Kern County Fire Grows to More Than 4,200 Acres

The French Fire east of Lake Isabella grew from 50 acres Wednesday afternoon to more than 2,000 in just about three hours.

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A brush fire that started Wednesday afternoon in Kern County grew to more than 2,000 acres just hours later and forced several evacuations as it burned east of Lake Isabella.

The French Fire started around 6 p.m. and exploded to 2,155 acres by nightfall. By Friday afternoon it was estimated at more than 4,200 acres.

Containment of the fire about 155 miles north of Los Angeles was at 5 percent Friday afternoon

Evacuations were ordered, and the Red Cross established an evacuation center at Kern River Valley Senior Center, 6403 Lake Isabella Road. The Alta Sierra area was placed under an evacuation order Friday afternoon.

Click here for an updated evacuations map.

Time-lapse video from a SoCal Edison camera shows the fire burning in heavy brush.

Video showed structures on fire, but it was not immediately clear whether any homes have burned.

California's wildfires are on pace to exceed the amount of land burned last year — the most in modern history. The blazes also have destroyed areas of the timber belt that serve as a centerpiece of the state’s climate reduction plan because trees can store carbon dioxide.

Most of the fires this year have hit the northern part of the state, largely sparing Southern California, which was expected to see clouds and even a chance of drizzle in some areas Thursday. Fire conditions in the region are expected to get worse in the fall.

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