The crew was packing up to leave when fire crews began lighting backfires. It only took 30 seconds before the flames closed in on the KTLA crew. They were able to escape without being injured.
The fire, dubbed the Erskine Fire by officials, had burned about 8,000 acres and destroy close to 100 structures, with an additional 1,500 threatened, the federal InciWeb information page stated Friday morning.
The fire began about 4 p.m. Thursday in the Lake Isabella area, KTLA reported on Friday.
“The mountainous terrain, five years of drought and wind gusts of over 20 miles per hour all drove a fire over 11 miles in 13 hours,” said Kern County Fire Department Chief Brian Marshall, who described the incident as a “firefight of epic proportions.”
Several hundred firefighters were headed to the area to assist the 350 already being used to battle the wildfire, according to the website.
Three firefighters have suffered smoke inhalation injuries while battling the blaze, which was quickly burning amid windy conditions in the steep and rugged terrain.
Evacuations were ordered for the areas of Bella Vista, South Fork, Weldon, Onyx, Lakeland Estates, Mountain Mesa, South Lake, Squirrel Valley, and Yankee Canyon.