Cal­gary fire forces hun­dreds to evac­u­ate

The blaze near Lake Is­abella razes 5 homes. Of­fi­cials search for a per­son of in­ter­est.

Los Angeles Times - - THE WEATHER - By Meg Bern­hard and Cindy Car­camo meg.bern­hard@la­times.com cindy.car­camo@la­times.com Bern­hard re­ported from Wof­ford Heights and Car­camo from Los An­ge­les.

WOF­FORD HEIGHTS — A brush fire near Lake Is­abella in Kern County on Satur­day de­stroyed five homes and forced the manda­tory evac­u­a­tion of hun­dreds of res­i­dents in the hill­side com­mu­nity.

The Cal­gary fire erupted about 1:30 p.m. near Dol­lar Street and Old State Road in Wof­ford Heights, which is on the north­west side of the lake, au­thor­i­ties said.

Dozens of Kern County and U.S. For­est Ser­vice fire­fight­ers are bat­tling the blaze, which is continuing to threaten homes. An evac­u­a­tion cen­ter has been set up at the Kern River Val­ley Se­nior Cen­ter.

The fire is 45% con­tained, au­thor­i­ties said.

Satur­day evening about a dozen area res­i­dents parked their ve­hi­cles off Wof­ford Boule­vard and Evans Road, await­ing news from of­fi­cials as wa­ter-drop­ping he­li­copters hov­ered.

Ron El­lick­son said his fam­ily first no­ticed the smoke while driv­ing back from a va­ca­tion in San Diego. He said he bought his home 13 years ago in Pala Ranches in north­west Wof­ford Heights be­fore re­tir­ing there a cou­ple years ago.

“I’m ques­tion­ing my move up here,” he said.

Jackie Weser, 23, said she was at a friend’s house when she be­gan re­ceiv­ing text mes­sages about the fire. She and her friend ran to Weser’s house, hosed down the struc­ture and tried to per­suade her mother to leave. The home has been in the fam­ily for three gen­er­a­tions.

“She ain’t leav­ing now,” Weser said. “She’s stub­born.”

The cause of the fire re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

But fire of­fi­cials are look­ing for a per­son of in­ter­est who was de­scribed as a wo­man driv­ing a ve­hi­cle without tires.

Mar­cus Yam Los An­ge­les Times

FLAMES FROM the Cal­gary fire along Evans Road in Wof­ford Heights burn as fire­fight­ers bat­tle the blaze, which is 45% con­tained, au­thor­i­ties said. Res­i­dents were or­dered to f lee, and an evac­u­a­tion cen­ter was set up.

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