Brush fire burns more than 300 acres in Kern County

Firefighters are working to contain a brush fire that sparked Friday morning in Kern County, according to authorities.

The Sherwood fire started around 10:15 a.m. in the area north of Sherwood Avenue and Famoso-Woody Road, east of Highway 65 and north of Bakersfield, according to Cal Fire. The fire was 80% contained as of 6:55 p.m. Authorities said its estimated size was 343 acres, down from an earlier estimate of 373 acres, and also lifted an evacuation warning that had been issued in a nearby area.

The fire has burned dry grass and rolling hills, spreading at a moderate rate of speed that's been fueled by the wind, according to Jon Drucker, Kern County Fire Department public information officer. There were several homes in the path of the fire; one was deemed at risk and firefighters were at the home to try to protect it.

The blaze’s forward progress was stopped before it got to the house, Drucker said.

Crews are planning to work overnight on smoldering patches within the blackened area, he said.

“While they’re working here, they will keep eyes on it and we’ll have fire watch in place throughout the night and into the morning,” Drucker added.

Firefighters are battling the blaze with the help of aircraft flying in from Porterville, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Carlos Molina. Temperatures were around the low 70s Friday afternoon, with northwest winds around 10 to 12 mph.

"As the smoke comes up, it's pushing everything southwest in that area," Molina said. "Because the winds are not too strong right now, [firefighters are] getting a good handle on the fire."

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Temperatures are expected to rise an additional 10 to 15 degrees between Friday afternoon and Sunday, meaning they could get into the mid-80s, Molina said. The relative humidity will also drop to around 15% to 19% by Sunday.

"As the conditions worsen a little bit, they may not be favorable for putting the fire out," he said.

Molina recommended that residents in the area pay attention to officials and local law enforcement and leave if an evacuation order is issued. Not only will it keep people safe, he said, but it'll allow the firefighters to focus on fighting the blaze instead of conducting rescues.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.