French Fire recalls the forest fire risks associated with life in the Kern River Valley


LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KGET) – Living in the mountains goes both ways: you can live there for years, in relative serenity, close to nature and suddenly you are at the mercy of nature while the wilderness Drought-dried explodes with a single spark. The people of the Kern River Valley know the risks and the benefits, and the French Fire continues to ravage mountain communities.

Dan Hoskins and his mother Margie know not to play with mother nature.

“We lost our home in 2003 in the same area due to a forest fire,” Hoskins said. As the French Fire moved and threatened the community of Keyesville, west of Wofford Heights, Hoskins convinced his mother to evacuate her home on the river and go to the Red Cross evacuation center on Friday. evening.

“I arrived this morning to be with her and make sure that she and her pets are okay, and that everyone is doing well and in a good mood,” he said.

While many communities in and around the Kern River Valley remain on alert for wildfires, firefighters from across the region have invaded the mountains west of Lake Isabella.

Hundreds of frontline firefighters and hundreds more assigned to firefighting are ready to move at any time as fire watchers follow the fickle movements of the wildfire.

“The fire turned and made a 180 at us yesterday, and the fire jumped some 8,000 acres, going uphill, creating a new set of problems for us,” said the County Fire Captain. Kern, Gary Blake.

Overhead, huge helicopters dropping water focused on areas of fire deep in the Sequoia National Forest, circling back and forth from Lake Isabella. The fire feeds on drought-stricken wood and brush.

As heavy equipment is repositioned to draw a containment line between homes and cabins in dangerous ways, sheriff’s deputies are stepping up patrols of evacuated mountain communities in search of looters. It gives Dan and Margie Hoskins some peace of mind as they responded to the Red Cross invitation to an air-conditioned shelter inside the gymnasium at Woodrow Wallace Elementary School in Lake Isabella.

“They take good care of us. They have cots, whatever food you need, ”Dan said.

As displaced residents wait for a long night, those still at home remain on their guard and hundreds of firefighters wait for French firefighters to take their next step.

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