The fire grew to more than 70 square miles, but it was 40 percent contained as it burned in steep terrain south of Lake Isabella. Houses could be vulnerable if winds blow the fire back toward some of the communities in the popular recreation area, Fire Chief Brian Marshall said.
“There’s still more threats out there,” Marshall said. “This is going to go down as the most destructive wildfire in Kern County history.”
Firefighters water down hot spots Sunday June 26, 2016 at a home destroyed by a fire that swept through the area near Lake Isabella in Squirrel Valley, Calif. The deadly wildfire in central California has burned hundreds of homes. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
Cadaver dogs searched through the rubble of devastated neighborhoods for more possible casualties, though remains found over the weekend were identified as an animal, Kern County sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. A man with two guns was arrested Sunday in a mandatory evacuation area, though further details weren’t available, Pruitt said.
The fire began Thursday and quickly exploded in dry brush and bore down on small communities of houses and mobile homes that surround Lake Isabella, a dammed section of the scenic Kern River popular for fishing, whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities.