Updated at 4:50 p.m.
The U.S. Forest Service continued to stream firefighters, including Hot Shot crews, into the fire’s more rugged areas via helicopter. Here’s a photo of crews getting ready to head out to fight the fire:
Updated at 4:45 p.m.
CalFire Chief Ken Pimlott provided a briefing of the fire this afternoon via Twitter. In the wake of one incident with a resident breaking through a CHP checkpoint, fire commanders urged continued caution to residents looking to return to their homes:
Pimlott also shared a photo of the sprawling command center near Lake Isabella.
Updated at 2:30 p.m.
The Erskine Fire is not the largest in Kern County history, but it is now officially the most destructive, the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region tweeted Sunday. Officials now say windy conditions as well as a larger-than-usual rainfall from El Nino contributed to the explosive spread of the flames.
Park officials say that although a large portion of the Erskine Fire continues to burn actively in the Sequoia National Forest, firefighters are “making progress.” For more information, see the agency’s Twitter feed: @sequoiaforest.
Updated at 2:20 p.m.
Reports on Twitter confirm that ATT Disaster Response is on scene and providing assistance to those that need to contact their families.
Cell phone charging stations are located at Kernville Elementary School, 13350 Sierra Way.
Updated at 2 p.m.
About 1,000 Southern California Edison customers in the South Fork Valley Area now have power restored to their homes, the electric company reported on its Twitter page Sunday afternoon.
Authorities with the company say that restoration efforts in other areas have begun for those affected by the Erskine Fire. Crews have installed a portable generator in Kernville to assist power supply, and will continue to work in Lake Isabella. But about 2,000 customers that live in Mountain Mesa or Squirrel Valley will remain without power, the company reported.
Updated at 12:50 p.m.
Almost 5,000 firefighters are battling seven large wildfires around California, U.S. Wildland Fire reported on its Facebook page Sunday afternoon.
Due to the major destruction from the Erskine Fire, CAL FIRE is advising that the public spend some time this weekend to prepare for wildfires, including evacuation plans and items to bring in case of an emergency.
Learn more at www.ReadyForWildfire.org.
Updated at 10:30 a.m.
A 72-year-old resident of Squirrel Valley was taken into custody after he drove past a CHP checkpoint on Highway 178 and then fought with a CHP officer on Sunday morning. The man, Joe Palme, an Air Force veteran, was trying to get back to his home, which had been destroyed in the Erskine Fire.
Palme drove past the checkpoint to his destroyed home. At that point CHP Officer Kelley Walker pulled his sidearm on Palme, according to The Bakersfield Californian's Lois Henry, who witnessed the incident with photographer Felix Adamo.
Palme exited the vehicle and the confrontation escalated and Palme was wrestled to the ground by the officer. Palme told Henry that he was a 30-year resident of Squirrel Valley and that he was trying to get back to see what remained of his home.
Palme was taken to Kern Medical Center and could be faced with arrest.
Updated at 10:10 a.m.
Kern County Fire has reported that additional public information officers (PIOs) have arrived on scene to assist during the Erskine Fire. This is a copy of the information they will be delivering throughout the local communities to keep those who have been impacted informed about safety precautions.
Updated at 9:50 a.m.
The Erskine Fire has consumed 36,810 acres and 150 homes, the Incident Information System website InciWeb reported on Sunday. An additional 75 homes have been damaged, and inspection teams are currently in the process of documenting destroyed areas.
Highway 178 remains closed at Highway 155 and at Sierra Way, according to the website.
Evacuation areas: Highway 178 to Kelso Valley to Paiute, Bella Vista, South Fork, Weldon, Onyx, Lakeland Estates, Mountain Mesa, South Lake, Squirrel Valley, and Yankee Canyon.
For more information: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4806/
Officials with CAL FIRE report the flames are now at least 10 percent contained:
Updated at 8:36 AM
Fire commanders said things “are looking really good” during a briefing this morning on the Erskine Fire. Operations Chief Joe Reyes pointed to several areas on the eastern flanks of the fire that have reached some containment, and that firefighters expected to make progress on building additional containment lines in the next 12 to 24 hours. Reyes said the most active part of the fire, which has burned more than 36,000 acres, is to the southeast of Lake Isabella.
Official statistics on the fire this morning:
Containment: 10 percent
Structures lost: 150
Structures damaged: 75
Firefighters on the job: 1,712
Coverage from Friday, June 24: