Two helicopters dropped water overnight on the Cedar Fire in an effort to protect the community of Wofford Heights on the northeast side of Lake Isabella. No structures have been damaged or destroyed by the fire, the U.S. Forest Service reported Monday morning.
The fire had spread down slope Sunday evening within a mile of upper Wofford Heights.
Slightly stronger winds shifted smoke from the Cedar Fire Sunday afternoon away from the San Joaquin Valley and up the Kern River canyon, the forest service said. The Cedar Fire that started Tuesday around 4:30 p.m. had burned 19,214 acres and was 5 percent contained by the latest estimate Monday morning. The cause is under investigation.
Over 1,800 fire personnel are working to control the fire, the forest service said, and full containment isn’t expected until Sept. 15.
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The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department has ordered mandatory evacuations for several communities in southeast Tulare County: Posey, Pine Flat, Pine Mountain, Sugar Loaf (including Sugar Mountain Park and Sugar Loaf Village), California Hot Springs, Panorama Heights, McClenny Tract, Sugar Creek Mountain Homes, White River Summer Homes, Portuguese Meadow, Balance Rock, Idlewild and Poso Peak.
The sheriff’s department said residents in neighboring areas are encouraged to prepare for evacuation.
The sheriff’s department issued road closures for Tulare County portions of Highway 155, Highway 90, Old State Road, Mountain Forest Service Road 23 S 16 above Sugarloaf, Mountain 9 into Posey, Mountain 50 at the divide, Avenue 56 at Road 109 (Old Stage Coach Road) and eastbound Mountain 3.
An American Red Cross evacuation shelter is open at Granite Hills High School, 1701 E. Putnam Ave. in east Porterville. It’s set up to accommodate small pets. Evacuees with large animals and livestock may make shelter arrangements with Terry Way’s Ranch and Equine Rescue in Exeter; call 918-541-3572. A full-service shelter is also in place at the First Baptist Church of Lake Isabella and further east at South Fork Elementary School in Weldon.
The forest service updated its evacuation status Sunday night for Kern County communities to recommended for areas within Wofford Heights including Pala Ranches, Homestead Tract, homes north of Anchorage Road, including Earl Pascoe Road.
The Kern County communities of Alta Sierra, Slick Rock and Shirley Meadows were already recommended for evacuation. The area east of Highway 155 and north of Wofford Boulevard is under a precautionary evacuation order, which means that the fire may become a threat in the near future.
For more information call the Tulare County Emergency Operations: 559-623-0200.