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Wildfire near Sequoia National Park threatens 160 homes

June 20, 2012 |  6:07 am

A 300-acre fire near Sequoia National Park has forced about 160 homes to be evacuated as of early Wednesday morning, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

The blaze, which broke out after 6 p.m. Tuesday on the western shore of Lake Isabella, was about 35% contained by 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, with more than 400 firefighters continuing to battle the flames, according to Forest Service spokeswoman Cindy Thill.

The threatened homes lie in the Hungry Gulch and Isabella Highlands area, and families are still being instructed to take back roads to get to the evacuation center at Lake Isabella Senior Center in the 6400 block of Isabella Boulevard, officials said. Thill said that Highways 155 and 178 were open in the area as of about 5 a.m.

The number of people affected by the fire and evacuation remained unclear Wednesday and the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Thill said.

She said there were no reported injuries, adding that she stopped at the evacuation center and families said that smoke had caused them the greatest concern while evacuating. She said the families she talked to were in good spirits.

There was no immediate estimate on when full containment could be expected.


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Wildfire forces evacuation of 45 homes, other buildings near Sequoia  

-- Matt Stevens