Lightning-sparked wildfires die down following 2-day battle

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Fire activity has been greatly reduced in an area hit by Sunday evening lightning strikes.

The so-called Shirley and Tenant fires in the southern Sierra Nevada reached roughly 700 acres combined, but U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Cindy Thill said the fire had stopped growing and crews had transitioned to more of a preventative phase by Tuesday afternoon.

The fight was aided in part by heavy rain late Monday, which caused its own problem - a mudslide that Caltrans said should close Highway 178 through the Kern River Canyon until at least Thursday.

Voluntary evacuation warnings were sounded Monday for homes in the Alta Sierra, Slick Rock and Shirley Meadows areas. Authorities never gave a mandatory evacuation order.