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Fire crews battling wildfires in Sequoia National Forest

Dozens of firefighters were battling two separate wildfires Sunday that broke out in Kern County after a series of lightning strikes that accompanied a weekend storm.

The Clear fire, burning 12 miles south of Lake Isabella, has consumed 514 acres since it was reported Saturday, said Greg Powell, engineer and spokesman for the Kern County Fire Department. Eight miles away, the Heald fire has spread through 313 acres in steep and rocky terrain.

Lightning from a Friday night storm is believed to have caused the two blazes, both of which are in the Sequoia National Forest, as well as six others that have already been contained. Roughly 150 personnel from the Kern County Fire Department, the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have responded.

No injuries have been reported and no structures have been damaged. Five airplanes and five water-dropping helicopters have been deployed to the Clear fire, while six planes and five helicopters are working the Heald fire, Powell said.

Kern County also sent fire engines to the Valley View community -- an area in the Piute Mountains with summer vacation homes -- to protect structures in case the wind shifts, officials said.

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--David Zahniser

 
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