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Wildfire forces evacuation of 45 homes, other buildings near Sequoia

June 19, 2012 | 11:12 pm

A 300-acre fire near Sequoia National Park forced mandatory evacuations of dozens of homes and a campground Tuesday evening, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

About 400 firefighters were battling the fire, which started shortly after 6 p.m. on the western shore of Lake Isabella, said Cindy Thill, a Forest Service spokeswoman. Firefighters are expected to stay out all night in an effort to contain the blaze.

“Our main priority is protection of the house structures,” Thill said.

About 45 homes and other buildings were evacuated in the Hungry Gulch and Isabella Highlands area. Evacuees were being directed to take back roads to get to the evacuation center at Lake Isabella Senior Center in the 6400 block of Isabella Boulevard.

The number of people affected by the fire and evacuation is unclear.

The California Highway Patrol has closed roads where Highways 155 and 178 meet in Lake Isabella, as well as Woffard Heights and Lake Isabella boulevards.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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-- Melissa Leu

Twitter.com/melissaleu

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