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California wildfire expected to head toward homes

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 15, 2014 at 9:51 pm •  Published: June 15, 2014

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Federal fire officials accelerated their attack Sunday on a smoky wildfire that threatened more than 500 homes in central California as they raced to control the fast-moving blaze before hotter, drier weather sets in, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman said.

The fire burning in and around the Sequoia National Forest doubled in size overnight and came within a mile of a community about 30 miles northeast of Bakersfield where sheriff's deputies walked the streets with bullhorns and knocked on doors as they urged residents to evacuate, authorities said.

"They were out there walking the streets through the night," Forest Service spokeswoman Cindy Thill said. "I just got off the phone with someone who said the sheriffs got to them at 2 this morning."

The Shirley Fire had burned 3.1 square miles of bone-dry trees, grass and chaparral and destroyed at least two structures, fire spokesman Jay Nichols said.

The blaze, which broke out Friday night, was 10 percent contained. It was fanned Sunday afternoon by 17- to 20-mph wind gusts at the mountain ridges, Nichols said.

He said fire officials anticipated that the blaze will spread toward the evacuated homes in Wofford Heights, a community sandwiched between the fire and Lake Isabella, a popular recreation spot.

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