ALTA SIERRA ( — Firefighters have contained five percent of a 500-acre brush fire in Kern County but will face some challenging conditions Saturday as try to get it under control.

The blaze, also called the Shirley fire, ignited Friday in vegetation south of Highway 155, west of the community of Alta Sierra, according to Cindy Thill of the U.S. Forest Service. The area is located 45 minutes northeast of Bakersfield.

When firefighters first arrived on the scene, they found they estimated the brush fire at 15 acres. It was burning in an area removed from maintained roads, and there were high winds, making it hard for crews to get a hold on the blaze. Gusts carried embers up to 300 feet away, Thill said.

Nearly 300 firefighters were working to contain the wildfire Saturday but faced some challenging conditions, such as shifting winds, high temperatures and a very dry climate.

There have been no reported injuries.

No structures were threatened.

Officials have issued precautionary evacuation notices to residents in the Wagy Flats, Alta Sierra, Shirley Meadows and Hungry Gulch areas. They also warned of potential road closures.

Heavy smoke was drifting all around the Kern River Valley and residents with health problems were advised to stay indoors and out of the smoke.

Those living in Kern County are advised to sign up for or call 211 for updates. More information can also be obtained from the U.S. Forest Service at (760) 376-3781 ext. 625.


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