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Battle To Contain Erskine Fire In Kern County Continues

Ryan Babroff / AP

Kern County firefighters move on a fast burning wildfire burning near Yankee Canyon and State Route 178 near Lake Isabella, Calif. on Friday, June 24, 2016.

Ryan Babroff / AP


UPDATE 11 a.m. Authorities say a set of remains found in the aftermath of a huge wildfire in central California mountain communities were those of an animal.

Kern County sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt announced the results of the examination Monday morning. Cadaver dogs are still searching the area near Lake Isabella where 200 homes have burned.

The blaze has killed an elderly couple who were found Friday after apparently being overcome by smoke.

Pruitt says some evacuations will be lifted at noon in areas least affected by flames. The fire has burned more than 70 square miles and is 40 percent contained.

Pruitt says a person armed with two guns was arrested for being in a closed area, but he didn't release further details.


ORIGINAL The battle against a massive wildfire in central California is continuing.

Fire officials say 200 homes and other buildings have been destroyed in blaze near Lake Isabella in the southern Sierra Nevada. Two people have died.

The Kern County Fire Department says fire crews are making progress in establishing a perimeter around the 45,388-acre fire.

The blaze is now 40 percent contained.

The California Report spoke with Akibo Sun, a 26-year-old rafting guide at Lake Isabella. He returned to the burnt remains of his house in South Lake on Sunday.

"Looks like a war zone, man, a real war zone," he says. "Like a bomb went off. No insurance, man. It's gone. We're just going to walk away. We're just going to walk away. Start new somewhere else."

Robert Moran, 73, also lost his home of 16 yaers to the fire. He made a last ditch effort to battle the flames with his garden hose. 

"Turned on my hose and tried to do it...my garden hose is like spitting out a fire...it don't put it out," says Moran.

Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state-of-emergency in Kern County to free up resources. And FEMA has also directed funds to the firefighting efforts.

Evacuation Areas: Hwy 178 to Kelso Valley to Paiute, Bella Vista, South Fork, Weldon, Onyx, Lakeland Estates, Mountain Mesa, South Lake, Squirrel Valley, and Yankee Canyon. 

Shelters: The American Red Cross of Kern County has two shelters open for residents affected by the fire.

St. Jude's Catholic Church
86 Nellie Dent Dr.
Wofford Heights 

Kernville Elementary School
13350 Sierra Way
Kernville

The Red Cross Safe & Well site is available for those looking for loved ones affected by evacuations.

Road Closures: Highway 178 is closed at Highway 155 and at Sierra Way. 

Recreation Closures: The Pacific Crest Trail is closed from Walker Basin Campground to Jawbone Canyon Road.

The California Report and the Associated Press contributed to this report.